I just wanted to briefly follow up on the Jimmy Santiago Baca poem I posted last week, "What is Broken Is What God Blesses." It's a lovely poem not only for its imagery-- how lovely is the phrase " the addict’s arm seamed with needle marks/ is a thread line of a blanket/frayed and bare from keeping the man warm"-- but for its theme of suffering.
It's a welcome reminder to me that what I often want to avoid-- suffering, sadness, pain, anxiety and all that makes us feel less than whole-- is unavoidable. And to take it further, suffering is what gives my life depth and meaning, and that I wouldn't be allowed those moments of true grace and gratitude without the suffering to give it context and life. And in my subjective, conscious experience, those moments of true grace are more than enough to keep me going day-to-day.
I think most great religious leaders know this. It's not an accident that Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," or that the Buddha acknowledges that life is suffering for everyone. Life has many joys but also many pains and sufferings before it ends all too shortly. It's what we do with the suffering that has always made the most sense to me to live a meaningful life.
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