Is there a purpose to our suffering?

 In my little world sometimes it seems like I’m the only one stuck with major health problems, everyone else gets to go on their merry way without any serious health issues, especially people my age (29). A lot of people my age don’t even carry health insurance because they don’t need it!

Lately I have been volunteering for the Texas Lyme Disease Association. It’s been a learning experience for sure, but what has really struck me lately is that there are so many people out there who are suffering. There are a lot of people out there who are fighting serious illness that we don’t hear about or think about. Some of them are dealing with Lyme Disease or fibromyalgia, some are fighting battles and facing death with things like cancer. While it is saddening that so many people are suffering, it’s also been uplifting to me to know that I am not alone. There are other people out there who understand me.

Most of the time I find suffering to be pointless. When one believes in God (any God) it’s easy to yell up to the heavens “what is the point of this, why is this happening!” I had a reminder this week that my suffering has not been as pointless as I thought it was (and that maybe I should stop yelling at the sky). A good friend of mine had a health scare. Not only was the situation scary and difficult, but she was treated terribly by the people she thought were her friends. These “friends” did not understand what her problem was and why she was acting the way she was. It was disheartening to say the least. However, I’ve been through all that before and I was able to be there for her to remind her she was doing what she needed to do to take care of herself, and she shouldn’t listen to her “friends.” I knew exactly what she was going through and was able to sympathize. Before I got sick I would not have understood what she was going. I would not have been a jerk like the other friends, but I probably would not have been all that sympathetic. It was nice to be there for someone else, instead of it always being me who needs assistance.

I have also learned to become resilient through my suffering. I am not perfect, but I have learned from what I have been through and the mistakes I have made. I have learned that I can endure almost anything. I have been to some very dark places, and emerged from them a better and a stronger person. Yes, I do see a purpose in my suffering, even though I would prefer to not have to suffer at all. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t get to make that choice.

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2 thoughts on “Is there a purpose to our suffering?

  1. I think these "hidden illnesses" like ours and certainly a lot of mental illnesses can be hard for others to understand and sometimes believe. It sounds like it's put you in a position to be a comfort to others and I think I've seen myself become less and less cynical of others who complain of illnesses I can't see.

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