Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The lessons of affliction

"I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my seventy-five years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained.  In other words, if it were ever to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by the means of some drug or other medical mumbo-jumbo... the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable."

-- Malcolm Muggeridge

... small consolation, of course, when you're in the thick of what feels like a disaster of epic proportions, or coping with constant pain.  But looking back over my own experience, I can see the undeniable truth of this: that the ongoing challenges presented by childhood wounds repeatedly provide opportunities for growth; that I would not have the life I have now were it not for the painful divorce in my past; that we would not be living where we are now were it not for the trials we encountered while attempting to raise and educate our children; that I would not be the woman I am now were it not for disillusionments suffered when devoting my life to the church. 

Each disaster has proven itself to be a gift.  It doesn't make me less fearful of future calamities, but I trust this knowledge will give me the courage I need to survive and learn from whatever lies ahead.  And in the meantime, I am grateful for the relative peace of this moment, and the opportunity it gives to assimilate what has been learned.

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