March 20, 2017

Wisdom on Hardship & Complaining

Since yesterday’s Catholic and Anglican lectionary contained the reading from Exodus 17 (the one about the Israelites complaining about their hardships in the desert), I wanted to share some bits of wisdom from a couple of guys who were much wiser than myself. I don’t recommend “inspirational literature” very often because I usually find it to be merely that—inspirational—and not actually helpful in any practical way. But, these two books are some of the rare exceptions that I often turn to myself.

The Imitation of Christ -Thomas รก Kempis, c.1422
Disciple: O my Lord, God, I can see that patience is very necessary for me, for this life is full of many disturbing things. No matter how I may plan my life so as to have peace, life cannot be without struggle and sorrow.
Christ: My child, certainly this is true. It is not My will that you look for peace without temptations or difficulties; on the contrary, you must believe that you have found peace when you have been tried by tribulations and adversity.
Always choose the lesser of two evils. Therefore, try to bear the evils of this life patiently for the love of God, that you may escape greater pains in the world to come. Do you think that worldly persons suffer little or nothing? You will find this is not so, even among the most privileged.

The Prophet -Kahlil Gibran, 1923
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your year, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.