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Grace in Suffering, and Misery as the Path to Happiness

June 1, 2007

ULTIMATELY there is tremendous grace in suffering –- not because of the pain of the suffering itself but because suffering allows us to reorient ourselves in ways that we simply could never have done had life proceeded in an untroubled manner. Suffering gives us the occasion to listen as we never have listened before -– both to new words and to new sources of wisdom –- and to turn listening into seeing.– William R. Long and Glandion W. Carney
A Hard-Fought Hope Hat tip on the Quote to Upper Room Daily Reflections.

This in conjunction with this article on relationship success Misery: The Secret to Happiness on BBC News, made me think that there is very likely a big seed of truth in these two statements.

Too bad so many of us believe everything we read, and think if we are smart enough, work hard enough, and are nice enough that we should never have to endure suffering. And that “perfectly” happy lives are achievable, and if we aren’t achieving them, we are failing.

But, without suffering, we could never appreciate the the good things we do have. I don’t know anyone who has been through a trying experience who doesn’t come away taking things for granted less, and living intentionally more, even if it’s just for a short burst of time.

Something to think about.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Grandmère Mimi permalink
    June 1, 2007 11:55 pm

    Eileen, I don’t look for suffering. I pray it does not come my way. But I must admit that I have learned more during difficult periods of my life, and I have grown closer to God during those hard times than I ever did when I was coasting along on a fairly smooth path.

    And, as you say, the hard times help us to appreciate the good things our lives.

  2. Eileen permalink
    June 2, 2007 7:52 am

    I think people who look for suffering have, um, issues.

    However, I think people who accept that some suffering will come their way, at some point in time, are realists.

    And, while I think most sane people wish to avoid suffering, when it comes, it can serve a purpose, and we can learn and grow as human beings.

    In denying suffering, we deny ourselves growth – if we struggle against it too mightily, instead of riding the wave, we drown in the struggle, instead of moving forward, in a change capacity for sure.

  3. Grandmère Mimi permalink
    June 2, 2007 10:14 am

    Eileen, “riding the wave” is an excellent metaphor for the proper approach to suffering.

  4. Eileen permalink
    June 2, 2007 10:55 am

    Now…if only I could learn to surf…

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