Inspired by a recent email conversation with Kiki, I thought I would share.
Personal tragedy was what severed my relationship with God in the past. I was young and conflicted and couldn't understand how a loving God would allow such horrible things to happen to humankind and individuals. These thoughts led to a belief that whatever greater power there is was indifferent about our existence here on earth. Obviously, my viewpoints have altered significantly in the past year. Bad things still happen to good people, but my outlook is dramatically different. Instead of dwelling on my own personal struggles and the tribulations of those I love, I think about the sacrifices and trials that God has made for us. Our own personal struggles really pale in comparison to God's sending of His own Son to earth to be crucified so that all humanity could have a second chance. I now look at suffering of all kinds as not so much a punishment by God or the lack of His concern but more of a test for us to ensure that we are worthy of His gifts. I mean, if Christ suffered and died for me, the least that I can do is endure a bit of suffering on my own. I don't feel abandoned or alone like I did before. I feel like Christ can "relate" to me and vice versa (even if my "relating" to Him is in a far less significant way!). It brings me comfort to know that He has gone before and is waiting for me to endure my own little piece of human suffering to "earn" a seat beside Him in heaven.
Yesterday after I got the news about my dad, I went to church and lit a candle. I prayed before the pieta, and it really humbled me and brought me to a place of calm. It is so hard to be distraught about your own life when you see a statue of Mary holding her Son as He is taken off the cross. The suffering that the Blessed Virgin endured (as well as that of her Son) is far greater than anything that I will ever have to endure (hopefully), and it provides some perspective. I also know that while I feel helpless and alone and sad and worried, Christ is doing the same for me that His mother did for him: carrying me through the worst of it. With a backup crew like that, how can I honestly be afraid? Really. It makes me feel so much more comforted and confident about the future ... whatever it brings. Good or bad, I am confident that God's will will be done and that His grand design is more than I could ever understand. So, by stopping my search for things to be understood, I cease to feel unsatisfied and confused. It brings me solace and tranquility. Isn't that what it is all about?