On suffering:

I guess now I understand The Glory of Suffering. I could never understand Jesus growing up. The concept of him being a suffering God. That he was a sacrificial lamb. I detested the immense focus on suffering in Christianity; how it was glorified.

But now as I get older I see the reason I turned so far away from Jesus was because he reflected my own suffering and he was the physical and spiritual embodiment of the most grotesque of sufferings: when good people are emotionally, psychologically and physically beaten to death.

My whole life had been endless misery. Devastating event after event, tragedy after tragedy and nobody to turn to. Every single source of help or comfort was annihilated. Everybody let me down. It would drive one to take a gun to their head if they knew my life. But I cannot discuss it in an attempt to protect those not innocent.

I heard passages about how God loves us that all things work out for the greater good. Yet I saw no happy ending anywhere: not in my life not in others. I’m not a cynic but I don’t believe in happy endings.

Growing up my biggest inspirations were Britney Spears and John Mayer and now they’re older and they are not with anybody. It makes me sad. But maybe a happy ending is a false idol. What if it is unnecessary? That is not to say true happiness cannot be found in and with someone else. Anything is possible. Though this negates the fact that generally speaking humans are broken and if they have not been broken they are doing the breaking and inflicting pain in some capacity. Most significantly is that humans are disappointing creatures. I’m not saying every person is, it’s just that people tend to lean on that way of being. It’s not always intentional it just is.

There is liberation to be found from true and non-self-caused suffering. You see deeply into the mechanics of humanity. It becomes a warning sign. You receive the truth and it is brutal. But we must not allow it to dictate our lives. Sure the suffering others impose upon us can alter the entire path of our lives but we must strive for Victory and believe in God’s promise that all things work out for the greater good even when we have been thrown into Hell for no reason.

I decided to be a Writer at 15. I’m a person of integrity I fulfill duty, responsibility as well as my dreams. Sometimes we have to be careful for what we wish for. The time from that decision to now has been devastating. If you knew my life you would  label me a Masochist for saying that everything worked out as she should be I am exactly where I need to be. I know pain and I understand life and I am still very young. At least I cannot be surprised anymore. There is none of that gut-wrenching shock when people attack or omissions arise. I have been exposed to the true nature of humanity and now I understand why “we are all sinners.”

That’s not to say I am a saint I am aware of my flaws. But the only way to accept the prolonged suffering I have had is to accept the fact that humans are cruel but not everybody is. I don’t hope for good people, I don’t long for understanding. I no longer hope that the love I crave be returned to me. I have given up on Hope and the powerful part is, is that it no longer hurts me to walk alone. I have God and my faith and that is enough these days. I am also pursuing my writing. I have interests and activities that truly fulfill me. I also cannot deny the fact that from a social media lens my life does look exciting and glamorous. It is. Maybe travel and adventure is my reward in life. Perhaps I’m being prepared for bigger things… I’ve had the shattering lows and the parallel highs are for the taking.

I think back to my youth, home alone, nobody acknowledging my pain, being ignored, horrific things occurring and I wandered how did I survive it? Well I just got curious. I discovered great guitarists, art, I did drawings and I consumed myself in my passions. I had the cure back then. It is the only way. There are only two sources of unconditional joy in life and that is Faith and immersing yourself in your passion. It doesn’t mean you drop your day job and start a rock band. (But hey you could: anything is possible.) You just have to explore and find something that makes you overjoyed to be alive and we can all find it. This I promise you. Just get curious, be obsessive it can be over anything but not anyone. We cannot hope to preserve that bond we had with a childhood best friend and no lover on earth can fill the void we have inside us.

But nature, art, science- anything not human- your pet, numbers, words they can satisfy you if you are brave enough to accept this truth. Life will never be perfect- it doesn’t have to be. I believe there is a greater destination we are to aim for and do anything we can to get into: Heaven. Life is unsatisfying and that’s okay. There are so many incredible highs we can accomplish: graduation, employment, births, travel, hobbies, gatherings with loved ones.

Life may have broken and defeated me but I still keep going, I am strong and I accomplish a heck of a lot on the way. I will never succumb to despair anymore. I’m not here to sell you a line and say “Life is Beautiful.” Life can be magical and amazing but there can also be immense pain and disappointment. We must be realistic of this intense physics of extreme. We must also be humble and accept that we are lucky for the simple things.

Sometimes my writing saddens me because they are all about pain. But my writing is a cathartic process of pulling out the thorns and daggers life has cruelly wounded me with. I am wiser and highly perceptive and intuitive and empathetic. There is clarity and power in my writing and it is all hard earned. If we are to pursue what we love in life we have to earn it. When I stand up and do a poetry reading, it may be a poem about a past experience or a fictitious piece but I write it and say it with raw emotion because I have felt nearly every type of despair on earth. When I read a poem I say it with conviction because I earned my Right to Write. I had the long hard battle in life and the Victory is sweet. It is also bittersweet.

I know how cruel life can be I know loneliness and I know how unbearable it is to be alone. I have felt so I alone I have trembled violently as if about to self-combust. Sadly we do not die from these battle scars. It would be easier if we did. The only solace I can give anybody else also going through the same pain is a meditation I do.

I visualize myself in the arms of Jesus. I am weak, I have collapsed he is holding me and he raises me up to the sky. I believe that he’s holding me high up to heal me. Another visualization is I imagine my heart is out of my body and in Jesus’s hand it is visibly damaged with stab wounds, cuts etc. I imagine Jesus putting his other hand over my heart and healing it for me. I try to imagine the scars and scabs vanish but I cannot, though I have faith Jesus will restore me someday, one day.

All that matters in life is that I be bold and daring always. I may be broken but I am not dead and that means I have not lost out. As painful as life is there is some gift to obtain even if it just to stare at the clouds.

When I nearly died the 3rd time I was driven to put an end to my life. It happened on my birthday despite all my optimistic planning: go to London, hotel booked and everything. But I was surrounded by too many bad people and life overthrew me. So ‘it’ happened. But now I see all my suffering is similar to Christ’s. It is nowhere near his level of suffering. Here I was thinking I almost died and this is how people treat me. Yet look what we did to the only begotten son. Christ had it worse. That’s not to discount our own suffering but I now understand why we must turn to Jesus: he is the only one that understands. It is devastating that our only salvation is not even physically here and that can make us feel more alone. In part we are alone. “You’re no one until someone let’s you down,” there’s no other place to put hope in like a friend or institution. The trick is to see this truth, accept it and not slip into despair. Nobody is gonna rescue you….

Lastly suicide is never an option. My only reason is that to do so would send a soul to Hell.

If any of this resonates with you. I guess all I can say is pray and just take that leap of faith and believe that God has you in the palm of his hand. And pray for Jesus. Nobody ever says that but pray for him because I know he’s looking down on the world and he is devastated. I know Jesus is more powerful, I believe he is in Heaven and that Heaven is a happy place. When I say pray for Jesus I mean consider him in your prayers as you would pray for a loved one’s happiness so pray for his also. It is an act of honoring him. We so easily forget about him…

Through Christ I became able to understand all the suffering inflicted on me. And being the romantic poet as I am I would dare to label myself a victim soul. I am in this world but not of this world….

Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ’s side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints

and with Thy angels
Forever and ever
Amen
Copyright © Catherine Vaughan 2016
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