Thursday, January 24, 2013

Suffering is a Gift

For a long time I've thought that suffering might be a gift from the gods. Think about really great art. Oftentimes art is great because you feel the creator's suffering. Bukowski's life up until the age of fifty was one great big wound. His writing radiates waves of pain, especially when he describes his childhood.

Rumi wrote that “the wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Perhaps that's why Bukowski wrote such beautiful poetry. He was filled with light and when he wrote you could see it.

My favorite story of good coming from suffering was related by Dr. Rachel Remen. It was a published in Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul: 101 Stories of Courage and Inspiration from Those who Have Survived Cancer.

The story is entitled "The Container" and is about an angry young man that lost his right leg due to cancer. In therapy he is asked to draw a picture of his body to express his feelings. He drew a picture of a vase with a large crack running through the center of it. He drew the lines forming the crack so deeply that he tore the paper.

In time he made his peace with the loss. He developed a sort of ministry helping others who had suffered amputations due to cancer or tragedies. Two years later at his final counseling session, Dr. Remen showed him his drawing of the vase and asked if he remembered it.

He replied that he did, but that the drawing was incomplete. He took the drawing and added rays of yellow projecting from the crack. He pointed to the crack and said "this is where the light comes through."

In my mind, we've all been born into the wrong universe. The wounds and cracks in our lives let the light from another universe shine through.



  2. "Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That's how the light gets in. "
    Leonard Cohen