Pain and suffering

I know, it’s been a relatively long while since I blogged (and even the last two posts were just my regular brief Thankful Thursdays.) Part of it is because life has been really busy, especially at work. As I mentioned in my Thankful post on the 7th, where I work we were a host site for a conference last week Thursday and Friday (which is why I didn’t post on the 14th), so that consumed a lot of time and energy. Thankfully the conference went well and was relatively glitch-free. But the month is not over yet and there are still a number of complex things that need to happen before it is, including the entire department physically relocating.

There was also, on the 8th and 9th, the season-end tournament of the church league men’s softball team I watch every Friday during the summers, in which we finished third. That meant we played six games over two days, the last three back-to-back. The end of the season also included a heart-wrenching farewell to a key team member, who has been like another big brother to me, whose family is moving as soon as their house sells – I was not the only one tearing up watching the men say goodbye and gather around to pray for him and his family.

Another part of it, honestly, is that there is just so much going on in the world right now that I can’t even wrap my head around all the pain. I feel as if to rattle on about the small details of my life – how excited I am that my apartment complex finally has recycling so I don’t have to bring it to work, what new movies I’ve watched recently, the fun of finding a new-to-me urban fantasy author mis-shelved among the used books at Goodwill last weekend – would be like acting in some way as if those horrible things aren’t happening. As if militant Islamic extremists aren’t violently persecuting Christians and other religious minorities in places where they have lived for thousands of years. As if young unarmed men aren’t being shot to death by the police who are supposed to protect them in my own country and the following protests turning ugly from both sides. As if conflicts in places like Gaza and Ukraine aren’t tearing people’s lives apart. As if hundreds, maybe thousands, of families in Central America aren’t under so much stress that they’re reaching the terrible decision that it would be better to send their children unaccompanied on a dangerous thousand mile journey in the hope of safety than to keep them where they are. As if a deadly epidemic isn’t killing hundreds in West African countries too poverty-stricken and suspicion-laced to stand against it.

And yet.

And yet, who am I to write about these things? I am not a journalist, nor an African-American, nor a medical professional. I am grateful for all the readers I have, but my blogging platform is not large by any means, writing here will not change any of these things. I don’t have all the facts, or know all the perspectives, I don’t even have all the words.

Still, perhaps because I am an empathic person who connects to stories and others’ feelings, perhaps because I grew up knowing there is much more world out there than just my little town, perhaps because I am pms-ing and thus more emotional than I would normally admit to, I felt like I had to at least say something, at least acknowledge that there is more pain out there than just mine. It may not change anything, but at least I am aware and I can try to encourage that awareness in what readers I have.

The other side of the coin is, even if I can’t ignore these issues, just as much as I can’t truly wrap my head around the scope of them, my life does have to go on. I don’t live in northern Iraq or Ferguson, Missouri or Gaza or Sierra Leone. I do have a job where they need me, I do have an apartment to clean for company coming tomorrow night, I do have to come up with something for dinner tonight.

I’ve sat here for fifteen minutes now trying to come up with a conclusion to put on this and I’ve got nothing. Just as there aren’t simple or easy solutions to any of these things – to wars or civil unrest or diseases or the pain of people moving away – there isn’t a neat answer to wrap this post up. And yet. And yet I know that pain in its many forms and chaos and death are not the end. I know, even with no quick solutions in sight, that there is hope. There are good people in this world, trying to fix things, trying to help the people affected, doing the best they can. There is a God who is in control, who knows the end, who will draw us up to be with him someday, if we believe, where we will all be free from pain and strife. And I know that even if I can’t understand it all, he sees all of it, the big, sprawling country-sized pain and the smaller, jagged personal pain, and he understands.

We are not alone in our suffering, tomorrow is a new day, and things may yet get better.


About Ruth

I am a Missionary Kid (MK) enjoying navigating this life with the unique viewpoint that has given me.
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2 Responses to Pain and suffering

  1. egghill says:

    Ruth, this was beautifully written. You’ve expressed very well the mindset of lots of us. Seeing the awful images, yet not being able to do anything but live our lives. God is in control of our lives and that’s a comfort to you and me.


  2. Gramma says:

    Very well said Ruth. I think you may be a writer. The tragedies in this world will overwhelm us if we dwell on them. and as you said, our lives go on. It is even difficult if not impossible to know how to pray for these things. Thankfully we do not have to know how. We have one who understands any way. I am so happy you are in my life. I love you.


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