I did not choose to write about suffering. Suffering itself has chosen my life in order to share with you, my readers, its story. For suffering can only be understood and perceived by those who have borne it.
Suffering has given me more than wounds. It has given me wisdom. I shall be sharing both with you. At times in humor, sometimes in anguish, and more times than I would care to admit from feelings of anger and vastly annoying irritation. But always, always, my wisdom and wounds are bound up with boundless compassion and a deep sense of camaraderie. For we have all suffered and will continue to suffer until the day when suffering is no longer a part of this world. (Oh, how I long for that day!)
Some of the things I share are going to cause you to wince in sympathy and/or cringe in embarrassment. (Whether that embarrassment will be directed at your or at me, only time will tell. For, with me, total transparency is just that. Total and transparent. I do not cloak myself in order to appear strong or unflappable or wise. On the contrary, I bare my soul so that you will see suffering in all its naked glory. And that, maybe, just maybe, you will begin to see an image of you; and from that will draw strength and comfort and courage…knowing that you are not alone.)
We are all more than our pain. More than our losses. And so much more than our suffering.
Through the hands of suffering, everything that I held dear has been taken away. I lost my son. I lost my health. I lost my job. I lost my business. I lost my home and all of my earthly possessions. Of all the things that I have suffered, however, the loss of my husband has truly been the most excrutiating I have had to endure. And I have yet to mention the horrors of my childhood and the terror that were my growing up years. One would think that my name would have been better served as “Pathos,” rather than “Cassie.” For that is what much of my life has been.
Before you all collapse in heaps of gloom and despair, let me share the wonderfully amazing treasure that suffering has given to me. For suffering gave me far more than it could have ever taken away. Much to my astonishment and great delight, I have found that suffering is a benefactor of peace, illumination, and joy. (How’s THAT for stupefaction and a kick in the head!)
I am fairly certain that some of you who are suffering now are almost gasping in outrage at the very notion that suffering could or would bring anything to your life other than its name. Yet, I speak these words with veracity and sincerity. And I invoke the authority of suffering itself, because my daily life is one of just that…suffering. I know just what in hell I am speaking about, and I mean hell in every sense of the word.
Prepare yourself for a journey of a lifetime.
Let the suffering begin…