02 July 2015

Suffering, and response

Just thinking about suffering and people's response.

Sometimes people respond to another's suffering out of their own experience or emotions. I've seen people respond unhelpfully to poverty because they felt guilty. Their response has been short sighted and caused problems they couldn't imagine.

Imagination is often a helpful thing to accompany wisdom.

People's response to those who are dying is often complicated too. They are living out of their healthy norm, facing a probable loss in their circle of affection and they want to DO something.

In reading A Faithful Farewell by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, written in the first person, I've paused to ponder, "I need protection from the weight of other people’s grief. Some of them don’t realize how crushed I feel by their anguish....

Still, it’s hard to go. And it’s hard to have to announce my going. I need to “gird my loins” for encounters with people who will be devastated. As I face each one, I need to pray for the patience, clarity, and kindness they will require. I know that a few of them will object and want me to get more opinions and seek more treatment options. I know that some of them will dissolve into their own grief,....

... my job is to allow myself to be kept in perfect peace, my mind stayed on Christ, and to meet each person’s sorrow with generous imagination for what my dying may mean to them. As I prepare for this final transition, they have to prepare for loss. Both are hard. Even for me, it’s not altogether easy to judge which of us are the “lucky” ones. I realize that the measure of life’s value doesn’t lie in its duration;..."

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