People seem to question the idea of suffering too much. It doesn’t matter what their beliefs are, what religion or race or gender, people are always asking themselves the reasons for their sufferings. I’m not necessarily saying that it’s a bad thing, and neither am I pointing fingers; I question it too. It’s hard not to, when you’re the one going through the trials and not knowing how you’re ever going to pull through. But at the same time, by paying so much attention to our despair, are we forgetting the good it brings?
Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in quiet and ease. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition aspired, and success achieved.” A blind deaf-mute woman talks to us about our vision clearing. I’m aware that it’s metaphorical vision she’s talking about, but, remarkable, isn’t it? That someone who, it seems, has so many reasons to be miserable can actually have it all figured out. And she’s right, as far as I’m concerned. How mundane would the world and everyone in it be, if everything went perfectly according to plan? Should there even be a plan, a surefire one that’s going to get us through our lives without us having to make one real decision all by ourselves, simply because a Higher Power has already laid it all on the table for us? I don’t think so. I think that as human beings with brains and freewill and goals, we’re permitted and even required to make our own way at times, figure out for ourselves what’s best for us, choose our paths.
If we were never left to struggle, how would we ever discover anything about ourselves or those around us? Because it’s great to know a person when they’re happy and their life is in order, but in my opinion you don’t really know someone until you’ve seen them suffering, and witnessed how they hold up through it. In much the same way, you only know how strong you are when you’ve had to prove it to yourself or to others; people don’t just put on random acts of mental strength unnecessarily. There has to be a reason. And when a reason arises, and you find your inner strength to pull yourself and whoever else is concerned through this particular struggle, then you’ve discovered something about yourself. As French philosopher Albert Camus put it, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer”.