Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Suffering and the Problem of God - Diamonds

Last Saturday morning, pain awakened me in the middle of the night. I lay there for a bit confused at being awake until the ache in my joints and muscles provided explanation. I decided to take some pain medication, my doctor has started me on something new that knocks me out but that’s not a bad thing in the middle of the night. Then I remembered that the pain had been bad all day and I had already taken as much as was allowed in 24 hours and I would have to wait before taking another dose. So I lay there, knowing there was nothing else I could do, feeling miserable and a bit cranky.

I found myself thinking of what a bit of coal must feel like when it is being pressed into a diamond, thinking that I am like that bit coal, undergoing a process that is making me into something splendid and beautiful and glorious. I found myself thinking of Bernadette, my confirmation saint who had tuberculosis of the bone and suffered for years without any of the modern medications that make my life quite bearable. “It’s not so bad,” I told God and myself . “And besides, it’s not as if I have to suffer it all on a Friday morning. I get to do it in tiny stages and this one isn’t so bad.” Finally, I realized what an honour it is to be made able to suffer even if I can only do it a little bit. Not terribly long after that, the pain eased and I fell asleep again.

I am very fortunate and I know it. At times I’d like to be cranky at God because things aren’t as I want them to be but then he reminds me how horrid it would be if they. There’d be no pain, no fatigue, no tests or procedures, but I’d also have no hope, no future, nothing beyond what I can imagine and that’s absolutely terrifying. I am absolutely convinced that on the sixth day, God took some dust into his hands and said, ‘I will make you like me’ and then proceeded to fashion humans in his image and likeness. I am absolutely convinced that we are like bits of coal being made into something far greater than diamonds. I am absolutely convinced that the thing that is going on, the thing that is bigger than I can ever realize is that he has told us the truth: we really are sons of God, heirs, able to grow up and be like him. I could never have imagined it, don’t know how it will happen, know I don’t deserve it, but if that’s what God wants, it’s fine with me.

It’s not easy but the difficulty is a guarantee that sonship is certain: if the cross is not real, then resurrection cannot be either. But since we live Good Friday, we can be certain that we will also live Easter.


Marion (Mael Muire) said...

"Not terribly long after that, the pain eased and I fell asleep again."

I'm so glad you were able to feel better without taking too much pain med. What you describe might represent an instance of Our Blessed Lady's own analgesic being administered to you quite unawares.

There are no side effects, and you can't overdose.

She's done that for me on a number of occassions, for which I am very grateful.

Gregaria said...

Thanks for this post! It offers a lot for me to think about.

God bless.

freddie said...

hi there,
got your linnk through FMN3. The way you're accepting your pain is amazing and you're an example of living Gospel!
Thank you. i'm well trained in suffering too, I'll promise you my poor prayers.
br.Freddie OF;

fmn said...

This is sort of like the idea of being tempered, but not hardened. As long as we keep our hearts open, he will be able to transform us. He will not violate a closed heart, he will force no one to open the door of their heart. If you think about it, our free will is the only thing that can impede him from entering, and this is our guarantee of his love, otherwise we would be like puppets on a string. It's mind boggling!

Drusilla said...

FMN - thanks. It's so very hard to accept that God values our freedom more than our lives. But once accepted (and accepted again and again), it makes perfect sense.

Gabrielle said...

Re being sons of God, and heirs, I was just commenting to someone recently that the 2nd reading (St. Paul) on Pentecost Sunday really affected me. "...we are not given the spirit of slavery...we are given the spirit of adoption", and the idea that the only reason we are able to call out in anguish to God is because we have already been adopted. This gave me a real feeling of peace.

Mahsheed said...

Dear Drusilla,

I'm just stopping by to see how you are doing.

Please write more.

I'll keep you in my prayers, and remember me in yours.

God Bless,

Drusilla said...

Mahsheed -

I'm so glad you're back. I've been wondering about you and praying that everything is okay.

My health has been undergoing difficulties and life is otherwise busy as well, but insofar as possible, I'll continue to post.

God bless you.


fmn said...

I too, hope to read something soon, Drusilla. God bless you.

Mahsheed said...

Thanks for visiting me!

Anonymous said...

Well.. probably only an irreligious fool would say this, but I'd rather you weren't suffering. I'd rather you mostly only beheld Him in the joyous things that thrill a human heart.