Occasionally when I read I stumble across a phrase which stops me in my tracks this is one of them:
‘The capacity to suffer through to joy’
It is profoundly resonant for me. We cannot avoid pain in life. It happens. Sometimes pain is simply to be endured and sooner or later it begins to dissipate.
I don’t want to say at all that all suffering must somehow be a good thing. I don’t believe that. I think we should do what we can alleviate suffering wherever we can.
But occasionally there are those excruciating circumstances which require attendance. In almost all of these kinds of times it is so tempting to try to avoid the pain. And yet, if we have the courage to stay with it, sooner or later something new emerges. Something which would not have been possible without the crucible of the pain.
It is these moments which are truly transformational. It is in these moments that our real hope lies. It requires discernment to figure out what kind of pain we are in. We should try to remove as much of the superfluous pain that we can. When turns out that the pain is actually essential, then we dare to embrace it rather than resist it, it can and it usually will give way to joy in the end.
For those who want to find the origin of the phrase – authorship belongs to Holmes Rolston III in a paper entitled Kenosis and Nature – you can find it here.