Recently the Anchoress posted an essay titled, “Suffering; the Great Leveler” that is near and dear to Cowboy Papist at present. In sharing the truth that all in life suffer, Ms. Scalia links to a previous post of hers commenting how our society and culture lead us down the wrong path – that our happiness is tied to our control of our own “death, pain and joy.” By traversing though life in pain and joy and doubt, we grow as human beings and in our faith in God. Certainly all humans experience agony at times as human:
“Suffering does not bypass the rich or skip over the poor; it is not confined only to agnostics, or doled out in extra measure to saints, and because this is true inevitability, suffering may be one of the “most fair” parts of our lives. When we cannot see that, we allow suffering to make us bitter . . .”
While suffering may be a “fair” portion of our life, it sure ain’t no walk in the park. Ms. Scalia shares an email from a friend who describes how when one is within the throes of anguish, “Everyone gets a turn in the crucible:”
“The crucible (ordeal) is a very interesting and terrible place. More interesting once one has been poured out of it and can look back, rather than seeing it from the inside when the fire is at its hottest. I often feel like Daffy Duck: “I am not like most people. Pain hurts me.” I think its because so much of our unnecessary parts, but the parts we are so used to, have to die in that crucible so that we can become more Christ and less me-myself.”
Ms. Scalia concludes:
“If suffering will come to us all, then we either admit it into the fullness of our lives, and find joy, or we push it away, and remain incomplete.”
With our country slowly ebbing its way out of this difficult recession, Cowboy Papist is sad to admit to being one of the thousands currently unemployed. While here at the ranch we do keep busy, it doesn’t make living on bacon and beans any easier, nor does the enforced sabbatical offer any kind of satisfaction. Cowboy Papist has grown closer to God during this ordeal, much nearer than considered possible when unemployment became our reality.
Yet suffering we are; in a loss of direction, financial stability, security from emergencies, psychological, professional maintenance, etc. The savings are gone, and there’s hardly enough funds to pay the rent, utilities, and some auto insurance – with any left over for beans and bacon. Most difficult is seeing how our unemployment imposes suffering on those we love, while Herself always accedes to these difficulties with firm trust in God, setting an incredible example for our family and friends.
The end of this ordeal, this suffering, is just a job away; but the pain of being inside of it is only allied by prayer and the sacraments. Cowboy Papist knows we should put all our trust in God; but like many things in life, that’s difficult to do. But from within this suffering, we do experience joy where it once was obscure; in the love of our spouse and her laughter, in the pleasure of quiet in the country, with the companionship of our horses and dogs.
The vocation of husband and father is tremendously difficult to perform when out of work, when pride of self is mandatory to landing another position. We pray that we have the courage and strength to see it through to our next opportunity. Without prayer, the sacraments, and our Church our suffering would be near impossible. We’re thankful to God for this suffering – accept it willingly – and pray that what causes our distress will bring us closer to Him and His grace. Vivat Jesus!