Day 23: Suffering


Taking part in the Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoir Writing Challenge. This is Day Twenty-Three.

Love and suffering and are so woven together as to be inseparable. Any time we endeavor to love, we know there will be suffering- we don’t know when or exactly how, but love simply cannot be uncoupled from suffering.

Love is worth it anyway- and you cannot even fight it. The only way to avoid suffering is to avoid connection, friendship, relationships- the very things that bring us our greatest joys. When you love another being, you know there will someday be loss. When you marry, one of you will lose the other. When you have a child, there will be pain, both received and given. When you become attached to a pet, at some point there will be loss. And we do it anyway.

But we needn’t fear loss and suffering. To paraphrase Kahlil Gibran, love and loss are from the selfsame cup. The heights of your joy are mirrored by the depths of your sorrow. Don’t be afraid. Allow these things to roll over you.

I know this is true. I know the things I imagined would break me, while they hurt like hell and brought me to my knees, also, over time, became things that broadened my heart, grew my humanity, expanded my compassion, deepened my empathy and my ability to love. And the cycle repeats.

Love is always worth the risk. There is no other way to be fully alive.