|"The Line Storm," by John Steuart Curry|
A person was writing to me about suffering recently and sadly, was comparing herself with others in the spiritual life.
Now, I would like to compare types of rain. Rain in Dublin is not the same as rain in London, is not the same as rain in Minneapolis, is not the same as rain in Mississippi.
Rain in Dublin stops and starts in strange intervals. It is rarely constant and is dirty, and I assume it is, as at this very moment, coming off the Atlantic. It is not regular here is Dublin, and it can be middling light to hard in the same hour.
Rain in London is constant when it comes, and it is more regular in consistency. It smells differently than Dublin rain and feels fresher. Of course, the movement of the Jet Stream directly affects London and Britain depending on whether it is coming from the north, or has moved south. It does not stop and start but lasts longer, imo, than in Dublin.
Rain in Minneapolis happens frequently at night, and, like other build-up of rains on the prairie and near the Mississippi River, the rain is fierce and comes with thunder showers and lightening. In the summer, as in other parts of the Midwest, the rain is a result of severe convection and even sheer winds, but Minneapolis is farther north than most of the severe thunderstorms, as one experiences in Davenport, Iowa, for example, when the rolling of the thunder is heard for miles away. Flooding is common in some areas as when it rains, it pours, but the skies and air feel fresh and clean afterwards. If the rain comes off the western prairies, it can be dirty. The Midwest has extreme weather, hot and cold.
Missisippi State rain comes in from the north and from the south, and there are cyclonic and anti-cyclonic winds, and subtropical ridges which affect rainfall. Rain falls in torrents. Mississippi, unlike Ireland and England, which have temperate climates, has a subtropical climate. The rain, to me, does not seem to cool things down as in Iowa or Minneapolis.
Now, what is the point of this lay person's description of types of rain?
Suffering is the same. For some people, it is constant and one must learn to live in suffering. For some, suffering comes in light or middling manners, and for some, in torrents.
One lives in a certain climate and adapts. One must accept suffering and adapt not only in the body but in the soul. Adaptation means acceptance.
How silly it would be for me to want a continental American thunderstorm, which I miss, in Dublin, or a constant, almost soothing London rain in Mississippi. We do not chose our rain, and we most certainly do not chose the suffering God allows in our lives.
Now, and I have written on this before, suffering can be a consequence of our own sins, others sins against us, or Original Sin.
Some of the worst pain I ever suffered was from a root canal done improperly by a very expensive dentist. He had to re-do it and in the end, I lost the tooth anyway.
Was he incompetent? Was it just that the tooth could not be saved anyway? Was it that he was actually negligent? The reason for the months of pain does not matter any more, but the suffering had to be endured, patiently.
The same with cancer. One must accept such suffering and deal with the consequences and not rail against God. After the initial shock, one must go into one's prayer corner and deal with the loss.
Some people suffer for years with cancer, and some for merely weeks. One woman who is related to someone I know, had no pain, went for a check-up for a tummy problem and died three weeks later of cancer.
We must not compare the sufferings we are allowed to experience with the suffering of others. This is one of the answers to Job and Job's so-called friends, who were wrong, wrong, wrong.
Forgiveness of ourselves and others is the beginning of dealing with suffering. Without forgiveness we waste suffering. The real reason for suffering is purification of the senses and the soul. No one becomes perfect, becomes a saint without suffering-no one.
The pleasure and importance and the pain of rain can be lost on those who only want clear skies.
|Curry, "Tornado Over Kansas", 1929|