What is better, answers of no answers in the light of tragedy and human suffering?
I like answers that give freedom – like when I was in the throes of grief, years ago and someone told me that grief impacts everyone different and there is no ‘right way’ to grieve.
Or I like it when I am feeling sad and a good friend just sits with me and is quiet.
Or when someone says that the suffering is hard and thus acknowledges it as such.
I wonder if it is merely a misguided human inclination that wants to give another person answers when faced with another person’s suffering.
But yet again I have had words thoughtfully, prayerfully given that have brought comfort to me in sorrow; much comfort.
I talked to my spiritual father yesterday about suffering in the world, citing some examples that I have seen. He taught me about corruption that is in the world, that it comes on the good and bad alike, like rain. And he quoted a Romanian theologian who said that all of these answers are found in the Cross.
Years ago I was at my parent’s house and read an older essay by Philip Yancy. He was describing, if I remember correctly, prisoners in Africa. And there was a Crucifix or an icon of the Crucifixion there, which gave these men great comfort.
Perhaps there needs to be sensitivity to timing to when to speak, when to be silent. I read in Fr. John’s book, Christ is in our Midst, of a saint who commented that he never had to repent of silence.
Sometimes, when I am feeling okay and more peaceful or at least more happy, I feel bubbling with words; I have so much to learn about what it means to be still, peaceful and silent.
I have learned a little about this: it is not just the absence of sound that creates silence. It is learning to have interior silence that is needed. And I have read and seen that the Theotokos (the Birth-giver of God -- Christ, the Virgin Mary) is taught as our example of what it means to be a Christian, and what it means to have this silence.
How do I know? Simple. I am beginning to see what I do not yet have. How do I begin to learn to see what I do not yet have? By being in Church and struggling to attend to the prayers of the church and looking at icons in church. I tell you, though, that I know it because I am only beginning to wake up and see glimpses of my own inner poverty and all those things that want to be noise and crowd my life, my vision, my ability to hear and to attend.
In the end is the crucifixion, the resurrection, the promise in 2 Peter of Christ, the morning star, rising in our hearts.