Monday, October 19, 2015

Abi and The Last Synchroblog....

This post is part of the Final Synchroblog.  I have not always participated, but it has been a blessing to do so when able. The October 21, 2015 Synchroblog invites bloggers to imagine what they would say if they were writing their last blog post. 

Update:  10/21/15 ... the first release of links for other participants is found at the bottom of this post.  I have a feeling there will be more trickling in, so stay tuned!

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As I am writing this post on October 19th, this will also function as the marker of my eighth blogiversary.  My very first post was on October 19, 2007.  It has been an interesting eight years....

If this were to be my last blog post, I would say that I am just beginning to understand the depths of The Purple Martyrdom.  I have written 81 different posts with this label, which makes it only second to cHesed, which has 134...or 148 if I include Perichoretic cHesed posts.

What I have learned over these past eight years of processing so much purple is that pain and suffering are all wrapped up in the mystery of life.  

Peck says that the Four Tools of Discipline are techniques of suffering. If we do not learn how to experience legitimate suffering, then we stop growing or get stuck. It is the only way forward to solving life's problems -- large or small -- and growing to be who we are truly meant to be. 

The way to growth and maturity, then, passes through pain and suffering.

  • Pregnancy and childbirth are full of pain...stretching, making room for a growing life triggers other mechanisms and push and shove mothers around for nine months. For those who suffer with severe morning sickness, they wonder how they stay alive and how the baby gets any nourishment.  It also permanently changes the mother's body in the process.  There is no going back, there is only establishing a new normal.
  • Those babies get squeezed pretty hard during the delivery process. But I learned how important that is when our third son was delivered too quickly for all the fluid to get squeezed out of his lungs.
  • Humans gain knowledge first through experimentation, and pain is an important teacher. We learn that there are a variety of kinds of pain...and we learn to bear some kinds of pain in order to get what we want.
  • Pain and suffering teach us things about ourselves and those around us. They help us develop empathy when we see others suffer in ways we have suffered. They help us develop trust in those who help us bear up under trials. They help us develop a sense of generosity and sharing for those whose suffering is greater than our own at that particular moment.
  • Pain and suffering are experiences of the body, mind and spirit -- because each of those areas grow...and growth is painful and must be suffered through.
  • Pain and suffering are the great equalizers.  Everyone experiences them. There are no exceptions. Not even God.

But God, whose suffering began and has endured since They chose to create, teaches us how to have compassion: to suffer with another.  

Father suffers with us in our trials, even as parents suffer watching their children suffer the pain of exploration and growth and failure and perseverance to reach mastery. He knows, as we parents do, that to intervene is to abort the learning. We set our boundaries at significant injury...but our Father is not limited to fostering growth in this life. And so there are times -- too many, it seems to us -- when He allows death to teach us difficult but important lessons.

  • Lessons of love and grace and mercy for those who suffer and for those who cannot stop the suffering of others.
  • Lessons of faith and trust in the Ones who know fully rather than we who peer through a glass darkly.
  • Lessons of justice and restoration and reconciliation and forgiveness that call us to step out past the pain and see a much bigger picture of our interconnectedness.

Jesus suffers with us because He has suffered and been tempted in all ways that humans experience...with one big difference.  He chose to suffer out of love for us. And He sits and suffers with each of us all day, every day...even as we are blind to our own suffering.  He calls for us to lean into His arms and know that we are fully loved -- even when we don't know what that means, exactly.  He calls us to love one another as He has loved us, to live in His love even as He lives in the Father's love. He bids us transcend our pain and suffering, taking up our cross and following Him. A yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.  Not because it is not difficult, but because He bears the burden with us.

The Holy Spirit -- who I call Grand Mother -- suffers with us in the being and knowing of who we really are and, more importantly, who we are becoming...according to our willingness to let Her guide and instruct us. To make disciples of our hearts and minds as She bids us let go of the lies we have believed about ourselves (and God!). Grand Mother calls us to be who we have been created to be...and She suffers when we cannot see ourselves -- and others -- with Their eyes.

To be is to suffer.

To suffer is to be called to grown and learn.

To suffer is to be called to bear one another's burdens.

To suffer is to be called to humbly give and receive help to and from one another.

To suffer is to be called to realize that we cannot know all the whys and hows.

To suffer is to be called to trust that God is actively at work, bringing good out of evil. The evil somehow must be suffered we learn and grow and share and care for each other and this precious Creation in which we live.

Everyone is suffering, to some degree, pretty much all the time.  Even if there is an obvious source of pain, there will be other suffering that is not visible to our eyes. To try to measure whose suffering is worse than another's suffering is not a helpful exercise. Rather, choose to love and give the benefit of the doubt. See with the eyes of your heart...the one that is full of wounds than nobody else sees unless we choose vulnerability and transparency.

Pain and suffering is more than I can really wrap my brain around. But it helps me to know Those who see it all and know it all and have the whole mess under control as we muddle our way through the blood, sweat and tears...our own and one another's.

But every once in a while, I get a wee glimpse of what God is on about. The techniques of suffering may be the tools of discipline, but the will to consistently use those tools is what Peck calls love ... and I call cHesed: purposeful favor (grace) perpetually initiated (mercy) with deliberate affection (love).  

To the degree we trust God's cHesed for US, we will be able to endure the pain and suffering required to grow and help others grow.

If I don't ever write another post, this last one would see me through. Because this wee reality of ours cannot compare to the Reality in which Father, Son and Spirit dwell in Perichoretic cHesed -- the Great Dance into which Jesus bids us enter. Already we are to live in this Reality, even as it is not yet fully realized.  The paradox of the now/not yet is painful.

We suffer for a short while...but God is making all things new, in Their time, and I hear that it will make everything we have suffered worth it.  

I don't know how.  

It's a mystery.

Be blessed....


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Thanks to all the bloggers who participated this month. We hope you enjoy reading their posts!
K.W. Leslie – Synchrobloggery
Glenn Hager – Parting Shot
Clara Mbamalu – What is love?
Carol Kuniholm – A Final Synchroblog
J. A. Carter – Last Words
Tony Ijeh – Sharing Jesus
Liz Dyer – Last words about love

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