“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before…The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.”
–Job 42:10, 12a
As we think of things happening in our own lives, the lives of loved ones, or the lives of those we only hear about, we know that life includes suffering. Whether it is suffering that comes with grief or illness or sorrow or tragedy or natural disasters, suffering can form and shape us in many ways.
In a meditation resource I have, the words of Anne Morrow Lindbergh invite us to hold suffering in a broader context. Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an author, aviator, and the spouse of fellow aviator Charles Lindbergh. She died in 2001 at the age of 95 and in her years of life experienced deep loss and grief.
She once wrote, “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”
Is there an image that speaks to you of “mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable?” I invite you in this week to allow these words to be touchstones for you, or the lens through which you experience the events of your week; from work, to personal appointments, to caring for others, to errands, to conversations, to meals.
A prayer at the end of the meditation using Anne Lindbergh’s words says, Holy One, companion on the way, welcome threshold at the end of every path; provoke me to attentiveness, encourage me to notice grace and joy, let me not neglect to offer gratitude, to embrace hope, to love beyond despair. Help me release anxiety, resist alarm, and welcome the pangs that announce new birth.
May it be so for each of us.