Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.
~Aristotle

After great pain a formal feeling comes–
The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs;
The stiff Heart questions–was it He that bore?
And yesterday–or centuries before?

The feet, mechanical, go round
A wooden way
Of ground, or air, or ought,
Regardless grown,
A quartz contentment, like a stone.

This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow–
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.

~ Emily Dickinson

Don’t you hate it when life is going along and you have all these wonderful dreams and aspirations – only to have them come to a screeching halt when some barrier suddenly appears?  Life is like that, isn’t it?  It is crazy to me how much the urge to live encompasses us.  For most of us – do we give up when we have a splinter?  NO!  Heck, we don’t even give up when we have a broken bone or a dislocation somewhere.  The pain is intense, but we still seek a way to survive, always looking for a chance to move forward.. to LIVE!

I have been through this lately, once again.  I swear – I am either one of the most clumsy people on this planet or just unlucky.  I could spend the rest of this blog cataloguing the injuries I have suffered through in my lifetime, but what would be the point?  For in my heart of hearts, I am still alive – still relatively healthy – and still able to keep moving on.  Just because I am in pain… okay, well, constant pain.. means nothing.  I have learned over the years to ignore the pain until it becomes so bothersome I seek to do something about it.  In this case, I have gone through physical therapy for 6 weeks now, and have about 2 more to go.  Apparently when I injure myself I decide to do it 100%.  No half tears or simple strains for me.  No.. I have to rupture my entire muscle and do significant damage to the mechanism of my leg.  I hope to be back to normalcy soon (such as it is) but I have my doubts.  There comes a point where one wonders if they will ever be able to just live without suffering again.

To what end do we suffer?  It has been said that pain makes you a better person, that you become better through adversity.  Okay then.  I must be pretty amazing.  Would be lovely if I felt that way, but instead I fear I am turning into a frumpy, fluffy, faulty, feckless female who uses too many f’s.  Not the most attractive, let me tell you… maybe even frightful (sorry, but I had to throw that in there).

I spent some time trying to research “suffering” on the internet, but most of the posts about suffering are theological.  I have a strong belief in God, and quite possibly I will be punished for not being a better disciple, but I have never been one to thrust my perspectives down another person’s throat.  In that vein, I don’t see why when someone suffers it has to be all about their spirituality.  Suffering is just that: experiencing or being subjected to something bad or unpleasant; bearing pain or distress.  I don’t think there is an animal, plant, or insect alive that hasn’t been subjected to some form of suffering.

Salvador Dali

So, then, why?  Why must we suffer while we live on this planet?  I have my theories – right or wrong as they may be.  I don’t think we can experience joy or love, without feeling pain and loss.  Interesting that newborn infants cannot laugh. Have you ever thought that maybe as humans we have to experience hardship before we can learn to enjoy life?  Once we find joy, we seek it out again and again.  Maybe we suffer as infants – coming into this world from a warm comfortable environment to cold, noise, and hunger.  Maybe this suffering is symbolic – I don’t know… does it matter?  Even if small comfort, knowing others go through life dealing with the ups and downs it has to offer lessens the loneliness we can feel.

I stopped thinking that people had to walk in my shoes to understand me – and realized that everyone has their own problems to deal with.  Instead I have surrounded myself with people who I love, enjoy talking to and being with, and look for good in life to make myself smile.  Maybe it is because of all the pain I have gone through, maybe it is just who I am – but I would rather be the sweet Kay who loves life, then be miserable and depressed all the time.  You have a choice too – what will you do?

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