Sidewalk Bends

Exploring the soul and it's reaches.

Dwell in Peace

with 5 comments

It has been suggested by some that in order to understand peace and to understand love, one must first suffer. It is thought that from deep suffering, whether physical, emotional or both, that there comes an understanding of man and the nature of man.

Though it is true that from suffering, the need or desire for peace can come, it does not mean that it is necessary. Many people speak of balance and the need for opposites since opposites can either cast a light or a shadow on different points of view. However, what if there is no need for suffering? What if it is a choice, just as there is the choice to be happy or angry? Sure there are those whose choice is seemingly stripped away, but in truth, do we not all dwell in that sacred place, that is God’s heart? Do we not have a choice to see the unconditional love and peace that already exists and can lift any suffering? Perhaps suffering is nothing more than separating oneself from God.


5 Responses

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  1. Hi, SB,

    That (that suffering arises from separating oneself, or being separated by other factors) is definitely one of the things that I’ve come to believe, at least in certain instances. But one needs to be careful, I think. I often wonder at how very little suffering I’ve had in my life, and at the amazing amount of peace and happiness I’ve been given over the past couple of years, and how unspeakably horrible life has been for some others. Is that because I have found a connection with God, and they haven’t? Is it because they have been put in those terrible places by the inhumanity, intolerance, and cruelty of others, to God’s sorrow? Are they there so that those of us who have been, for whatever reason, given so many blessings have opportunities to share those blessings, regardless of what others think?

    I don’t know, but your post asks a very good and relevant question–one of those questions that may not even have an answer, but whose value is in our attempts to find answers anyway.



    May 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm

  2. To me suffering is the anguish we put ourselves through when want ourselves to be something we are not. It is the self-deprecation. It is the anger that we allow to well up inside of us. It is the sadness we carry on our shoulders. It is the want for something other than what we have. It is the physical pain and emotional pain that is often inflicted on us by others.

    But through that all, we still have a choice, to take what love we can, from a situation. We can allow our mind to dwell on our current condition, whatever that may be, or we can choose to look past it, past the illusion. Some would argue that it is no illusion if you have truly experienced suffering. But to them I say, do not look outward at what your eyes have told you, or what your body has succumb to, look inward to your spiritual heart. Is there not peace in what we know to be the truth? Is there not unconditional love from God despite some of the things man has chosen to do?

    Surely, we can learn from one another, and surely suffering can serve to teach us a better way, but is it necessary? To me I say no, but alas, I am just a man, and God’s will will be God’s will.

    Peace is already here. The kingdom is already here…You’ve said it yourself. Sometimes you just have to believe.


    May 28, 2009 at 7:42 pm

  3. Now you’ve got me really thinking. Sure, I can look at the things I have and have been given, and the things that we’re taught to believe are worth striving for in the world, and realize that they’re really not worth much in turning to what is spiritual and lasting and real. I can learn to shrug off the opinions of others about how I live my life, as long as I know that I’m doing my best to live as God would want me to live. And, more and more, I realize that those are the things that I want to do, and that I truly am more at peace for it.

    I can do those things for myself, and I can suggest to others that there is value in trying to find ways to do it as well. But what about those who have nothing left–who may have never had anything, either material or otherwise, to lose, who have been despised and thought better off dead by others with more? Could I really tell a sick, homeless, utterly alone person with no hope whatsoever, or a parent who had lost his child, that the suffering is an illusion? I’m not saying yes or no; I’m just saying that I’ve never been in a position to judge.

    Thank you–these are things I really hadn’t considered consciously enough before, and they’re worth a lot of thought. The only thought I have about it at the moment is the one I’ve had all along–that those in the position to give, whether it’s food, treatment, a place to live, sympathy, comfort, and love, are responsible for giving those things to the best of our ability, and to alleviate others’ suffering in any way we can. If God thinks harshly of anyone, it’s those who refuse to do that.


    May 28, 2009 at 8:48 pm

  4. OK, I’ve given it more thought (and got a little help, as usual…).

    For those who really suffer–not from a lack of the worldly things that are really not of much value, but from a lack of the things that most of us take for granted–love, food, homes, hope for the future, etc.–we can assure them of God’s love for them, and try to get them to believe that there is something worthwhile in them and worthwhile in living in the world, and ask them to trust God.

    The problem, of course, is that those words have been said so many times in so many empty ways, that they will almost always ring hollow. I was thinking about one of the few post-Gospel writings that has meaning for me–James’ letter, in which he talks about “faith without works.” He says that it’s useless to tell someone that they are blessed and loved, yet to send them away without the things that are “needful to the body.” I would imagine that he meant “needful to the spirit” as well. Where you can feed, you feed, where you can give shelter, you do, where you can give comfort, you do, in any way you can.

    But it’s about DEMONSTRATING God’s love here on earth that has the potential to open someone’s eyes to the “Kingdom”. We must treat everyone as if we were God ourselves on earth (as I believe Jesus did)–“deputies”, if you will. We need to demonstrate that there is something in everyone of value, and that that value is known and seen and taken into account.

    Suffering, I think, can be very real. But God’s love is also something very real and demonstrable for those who have a will to demonstrate it consistently. Every time that happens, the “Kingdom” is revealed.

    Just my thoughts (well, not all mine).


    May 28, 2009 at 9:58 pm

  5. Words are meaningless without true intent. That is one of the reasons for my being upset regarding the lottery ticket money and the two men I saw today. I can talk all I want but as long as I hold back, I have not truly learned.

    You are absolutely right. It is about showing others that they are still human, that they are still part of the whole, that they are important (no matter how unimportant they think themselves to be or others think them to be), and that they are loved.

    As for suffering due to lack of this or that, you cannot judge another’s suffering by your own experience of it. We all cope and experience things differently. What is difficult for one may not be difficult for another. For instance, we may see a person living in Africa or some other third world country whose home is made of sheet metal and lays on a garbage heap and think this is suffering. They on the otherhand may see this as normal, and may think nothing of it for it is all they know. Regardless of what ales a person, it does not make the suffering any less or any more than another person’s suffering. Suffering is suffering regardless of where it comes from.

    We must ask though where these feelings come from. Is it because we want something more? Is it because we long for a child, or a parent, or a friend who has died? Is it because we want to belong? Is it because we want a home or food? Is it because we are ill, and the pain our body endures is too much? Are not all of these things temporary? Do not all of these things teach us something about ourselves, about how strong we truly are? Do these things not teach us about others? In our moments of vulnerability it is often difficult to see the light through the darkness, but it is in our darkest moments that we often realize how futile it is to concentrate on our perceived suffering.

    Concentrating on the suffering does not end it nor lessen it. It does not change the condition. What changes it is our choice, our choice to see past, beyond it. I don’t think it is our place to try and convince anyone of anything for all will see or not see, in God’s time. All we can do is offer our love, offer ourselves.


    May 29, 2009 at 4:33 am

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