Facing Suffering with Grace

I am holding on to the belief
My pain is never wasted
In a way to find some relief
To try to extract some meaning
From the suffering that’s become
A fleeting yet no less reeling part of my life

I have been told that after going through something like this
I will be, well, different

At first this was crushing to hear
A dissonant sound in my ear
Yet I remembered all I have been taught
About the gifts suffering has long known to have brought

We are refined in exquisite ways
By our trials and tribulations
Far more than the times of gentle graces

The strength of our perseverance
The depth of our compassion
The breadth of our awareness
The height of our expression

The realization that the good and bad in life
Are not given out by simple equations
Nor by effort, intention, vision, or social-economic positions

There are times when life is simply unfair

And the greatest relief is to accept this fact
Rather than look for explanations that are simply not there

For if life were a fair exchange
What does that mean for those who are suffering?
Did they do something wrong that should’ve been changed?
Did they miss a step somewhere along the way

Of course not
There is no formula to avoid suffering
It’s part of being a human being
Some experience less, others experience more
I’m sorry to all those researchers out there
I’m throwing your correlative studies out the door
Because suffering can still strike no matter the protective factors
We build up with all our might

This may not make the channel 1 news, but its true
No matter how loud those who would theorize the contrary
That we can somehow insulate ourselves from suffering
We as a society really need to stop blaming
Those who are most in need of our compassionate caring

For suffering – I have learned
Is something you simply need to face
It may happen at an unexpected time and place
And there’s often no rhyme, reason or logical case

The first step towards healing is often getting rid of the blame
To act compassionately towards yourself even if there were mistakes made
To see that mistakes do not remain so when we choose to learn and to grow

For then mistakes become catalysts for change
That help us to rearrange despair for hope, fear for trust and anger for acceptance
This shift is so greatly needed in our world
And somehow this is exactly what we find
When everything in our life is tossed and turned

Slowly but surely
With great effort, practice , patience and support
And learning how to gently yet assertively make retorts
We learn to hold on to all the good along the way
So we may truly be able to say
While I would never want this kind of suffering
I am a better person for having faced these days

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