Survival. Suffering. Strength.
There are certain wisdoms and understandings that one can only learn in suffering. Songs that can only be heard in the pits of despair. There are lights that will never seem so radiant as when we are covered in darkness. I only know this because I have seen it.
I saw it this past week in the eyes of an orphaned child.
“When my father died….. I died too” That didn’t break my heart as much as the smile covering his face as he said it. As if it were normal. As if it were just a part of life.
It is. And because it is – it will make him stronger. I believe that. I see it in his eyes. And his smile.
There is a richness in the Core of Pain that we miss sometimes. A sweetness of the first foods eaten after one has been starved for days up on days that can never be tasted again. Not like that.
The breath one is finally able to breathe just seconds before suffocation is the most precious air that will ever cross their lips.
Many a breath they have taken. But none like that one. There is a Treasure of Life felt by a dying man given a second chance of living that those who have never looked death in the eye will ever grasp. Not really.
It is so with suffering. You see we can be Broken but not Desperate. We can be Desperate but not Broken. But when we allow ourselves to be Desperate for God out of our Brokenness – then there is a part of us that surrenders out of survival. When you have nothing else to hold on to but God – All of a sudden, God is all you need. You treasure Him. Like breath. Either that or you blame Him. But one certainly brings more life than the other.
“What about blaming God? Do they not blame God for what has happened? For their loved ones who died?” I asked a survivor of the earthquake.
He shook his head. Almost in pity that I would ask such a question. Even seemed to smirk at me.
“I have never heard of this. He is God. He is good. He can do what He wants when He wants how He wants. He is God and He gives life.”
He made it sound so simple.
God brings Life. Life brings death. There is no blaming. It’s a part of living. As is suffering. And in the middle of suffering lies the heart of God. The core of the Cross. It’s in our deepest despair that we even brush the suffering of the Cross. Communion with the heart of God. I saw this today:
We were standing in front of at least 100 children sitting on a rocky and dry ground in a tent camp under a summer sun with a heat index of 115 degrees. They were dirty and hungry, and we were surrounded with what seemed to be 1000 people at one point. Telling them how God was actually the closest to them at the very moment they felt the deepest abandonment. As if we knew first hand. We had just given the children paper to draw their heartaches and stories of the earthquakes. Starting to hand out the crayons one by one – there was quickly a mob of little Haitian hands surrounding us. Poking us. Prodding us. Louder and Closer and Pushing and Shoving and beginning to Yell. For what?
For One Crayon.
I was handing them out as quickly as I could and they were grabbing them even quicker. All I could feel was little fingers all around me.
“Blanche! Blanche!” (“white person. white person”)
Sweet fingers poking harder at every inch of me they could find. Mother’s shoving their children closer and closer to me. My heart racing faster. The sun beater harder. Space to even move become scarce.
Poke. Prod. Shove.
Handing out crayons as fast we we could move. One prod. One poke was more intense than the others. Poke. Prod. Poke. Irritating, actually. Fed up – I looked down.
It wasn’t a hand asking to receive a crayon at all. It was the first hand practically begging me to take what was in it. A picture. Of her heartache. I looked in her eyes. The hundreds of children faded away at that one moment, and I took her gift to me. She was smiling. So much.
As if it were normal. As if it were just a part of life. It is.
Her drawing? Her mother lying down dead after the earthquake and what seems to be a spirit or an angel in the room. She wanted to show me. Desperately show me. And soon there were more. Giving out crayons quickly gave way to grasping drawings as quickly as I could. They wanted to give us their drawings of their heartaches as much or more as they wanted a crayon.
One crayon. One heartache. One day. One earthquake.
Hundreds of broken Haitian hearts resulting in a flood of forced Hope that most of us would have stopped searching for. But not them.
“Many have come to God from the earthquake. Out of their suffering they have found Wisdom. They have found Hope….”
The question for us is this:
Can we say that we welcome suffering if the ending of the journey of Pain means that we look more like the heart of a man on a cross?
You see it is in Suffering – the Heart of it – the Core of it – that the center of Chirst is the most Alive. It is then that He is breathing in us the deepest. His Greatest Comfort can be found in the Marrow of of our Pain. If Jesus had a living breath we would be filled with at the very moment we are drowning in Hopelessness. Why? Because He was born to suffer. He came to earth to suffer. His purpose of living was to die. So when we become closer to pain – we become closer to His heart.
The questions is this: Is it worth it. I believe – Yes. So Does Mr. C.S. Lewis.
“We think all of our childish toys brings us all the happiness there is and our nursery is our whole wide world, but something must draw us out of that nursery in to the world of others. That something is suffering“