Are You Resilient?
Can You Endure?
We all suffer and experience grief. Whether through war, accident, disease, poverty, personal loss or disappointment, as humans with a mortal body and a heart, we all experience pain. But we can endure it well, if we attach meaning to our suffering.
Suffering lessens when viewed as sacrifice
In the classic book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl describes an experience with an elder man, in the WWII prison camps, who was despondent because his wife died. Frankl asked how it would have been if he had died first and the man replied, “It would have been terrible for her; how she would have suffered.”
Frankl then stated, “You who have spared her this suffering—the price that you now have is to survive and mourn her.
In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice. (P.113)
In the summer of 2015, thousands of people began following the social mediacampaign, #bebravebaylee.
Brave Baylee was a 15 year-old girl burned on 65% of her body after a tragic ATV accident. In the fight for her life, she endured 27 surgeries and beat the odds of survival many times.
Unfortunately, after enduring 4 painful months in a burn unit, Baylee passed away. She courageously endured her suffering stating, “I’m thankful it was me and not one of my brothers”. Baylee’s family is now finding purpose in their loss by supporting child victims attend summer burn camp.
In the examples previously mentioned the victims were willing to suffer to spare others but we can also give meaning by becoming an advocate warning others of the pitfalls ahead.
Light a Candle, Be A Mentor
The popular singer, from Clearance Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty sings a great song about the inspiration of a candle in the window: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqY7e4bP9PQ
Examples of people who have found meaning through advocacy include;
- A former drug addict who becomes a dedicated AA sponsor to help others fight the addiction battle.
- A young college graduate who decides to be an elementary education-reading specialist after personally battling dyslexia.
- A rape survivor who volunteers at a women’s crisis center.
Celtic wisdom states: At even tide, set a candle in the window for the wanderer and you light your house as well.
Suffering causes growth
Often former clients recognize the personal growth caused by suffering and say things such as, “I am glad this happened to me; I am a better person having gone through the experience.” Or as Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross said,
“You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.”
Find your specific purpose for pain. You can endure, survive and thrive.
As Nietzsche put it, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
Camille Foster/ 801.472.7134/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Please “like” my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UtahMentalHealthServices/
See also my post: https://utahmentalhealthservices.com/concerns/grief/
An essay on the topic from a favorite scholar of mine: “Endure It Well”
More on Baylee: