Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Illusions of a painless and suffering free world

I haven't posted in what seems like forever but is has been a tough few weeks.  Shortly after my last post, I took John Paul to the dentist for what we thought would be a routine filling in a baby tooth.  The dentist - while not the favorite hang out spot for many 4 year olds  - is a decidedly hated spot for John Paul.  Knowing what his reaction in advance would be, I didn't reveal where we were going until we pulled into the parking lot and he put it together.  After wrestling with him to stay in the chair, the dentist drilled, filled and then to her amazment watched as the filling was pushed out by what ended up being an infection in the gum.  The tooth had to come out.  All things considered, he did very well and earned his tiger mask which he wore with pride for two days! And while he didn't have any David at the Dentist moment, it was intriguing to see him work through the effect of the novacaine for a few hours -  how being numb for a while helps to tolerate the pain.

When not at home with our 6 kids, I also work at a university in New Jersey as an administrator. These last few weeks have left me feeling a bit numb and searching for a way to reconcile the suffering and pain I've seen around me.  If you aren't from this area you may not be aware but two universities have lost students - one to senseless gun violence and another to suicide - in the last week and a half.  I was called in to work when the student was killed by gun violence, leaving the children with my husband after trying to explain to our six year olds how the student had died. 

Probably like many parents, I struggled to find the right words to explain how violence is sometimes seen as the only way to resolve problems.  I was fighting to find the words to share with them that suffering is a part of our life, a part in which we can come to understand ourselves more deeply and love others more fully.  I'm hoping that God allows me the grace to convince my children that to spend your life trying to avoid pain or suffering will be a futile endeavor.  They don't need to go looking for it....it will find you at different points in life but the great task for me and Mark is to teach them to look for the good that can (will and must) come from suffering.

Just as I know I couldn't take away the pain of an unexpected tooth extraction for John Paul, I realize I cannot take away the unexpected pain of loss for the students I work with.  I wish there was some sort of novacaine to make it easier to deal with but I suppose that is me looking to avoid suffering.  Instead, I have to ask God for the grace to understand that His will is best in all things - especially those things which confound my small brain.

1 comment:

  1. T... living through the tragedy of the Boland Hall fire with you, I have seen God's will at work in things that seem senseless. It teaches us as one of our favorite saints say; "One cannot suffer without loving or love without suffering". Tragedies like this serve as a wake up call to many others. Who knows how many lives have been spared of dying in campus related fires because of the tragedy that happened to Frank, Aaron and John. Can't say that it makes it easier but it does give meaning to the suffering. Having a faithful administrator like you on campus helped me get through a time when I questioned God and faith. I'm sure you are helping many others at this difficult time now.