Thursday, February 11, 2010

Joy in Suffering

A discussion on suffering can take many avenues. You can start with a question: Why do people suffer? Is suffering necessary? You can relate an experience, and focus on what was learned or what was lost. You can talk about reducing suffering or enduring suffering. There are so many perspectives because everyone suffers. But what is suffering? I particularly like the definition of suffering I found online. Suffering (verb without object): to endure… patiently or willingly.

Suffering is an underlying current that reaches every corner of life. At all times, there is a longing that cannot be satisfied, a dream that cannot be reached. Enduring that stream of sorrow and desire without letting it affect daily life constitutes true suffering. Every day of my life, no matter how satisfied I am with the current situation, I want more. Not in a greedy, self-centered way, but in a manner that reflects the plan of God’s whole creation and glory. Progression is the key point. I am progressing toward eternal life. I am working to progress to exaltation. Once I reach exaltation, I will receive of God’s glory and progress to greater glory and light.

I desire progression. Innately and divinely within every human soul is the dream of progression. Each day we live our lives, hoping to make it further, to make it higher. We strive to improve ourselves in any way we can. Why do we do this? It is how we suffer. We must endure this mortal probation. We willingly selected to come to earth, to gain a body that can sustain injury, to experience emotions that can feel deep hurt. Each day, as children of a Divine Father, we endure the aches and pains of mortality, willingly and patiently.

We suffer through this mortal existence, but that is not a depressing or hateful idea. Suffering intrinsically includes enduring. We need only strive to suffer with joy, and we will reach our goal. Each day, when the pain of being far from our eternal home resonates beneath our emotions, we search for ways to be happy, to be joyful, and to be productive. Working toward dreams is a fulfilling activity. When I am making personal progress toward a goal, I am more satisfied with my life and more joyful in my suffering.

As I continue on my journey forward and upward, I will continue to find joy. When I love even the most difficult circumstances, I will know that I have fully understood and accepted the idea of suffering and enduring. Life is hard, and life is long, but it is worth every moment.
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