Bearing Trials Patiently
You should keep in mind the grave sufferings of others so that you could more easily bear the trifling sufferings that are yours. And if they do not appear to you to be insignificant, then maybe it is your unwillingness to suffer them that makes them so great. But whether they be slight or serious bear them all with patience. – The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 19, page 102.
Three of my children have the flu, and I am coming down with it tonight as well. Given that my daughter’s been in a pitiful state since Thursday evening (she was the first to fall), I’m not excited about it. Nevertheless, for obvious reasons, I am going to keep it short this week – I hope you’ll be willing to pipe in where I leave off.
Despite your assumptions, I didn’t actually choose the above quote because of the sickness weighing down our house this week. Rather, it reminded me of something I read by Franz Kafka when I was in college. I don’t remember the actual quote, but the concept is one I’ve thought about often through the years.
Kafka’s comment was something to the effect that we tend to be more consumed by a small cut on our little finger than we are by the tragic suffering and death of a neighbor.
What do you think of that statement (or at least my recollection of it)? Please explain your answer.
Do you agree that a greater awareness of and compassion for the suffering of others would help us to accept our trials more readily? If so, how do we acquire those things?
On a more personal level, what makes trials difficult for you to bear? Do small trials consume you, and if they do, could that be a result of your lack of resignation or acceptance of those trials or is something else responsible?
Finally, what most helps you to bear your sufferings with patience?
I am going to refrain from putting in my two cents this week (at least within the post) – I hope you’ll be willing to share your thoughts for the edification of the rest of us.
I’m off to bear my own trifling suffering patiently:).
Week 6: Book 3 Ch. 22-32
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