The rudders of pleasure and pain drive us, as Aristotle told us. All of us. Every action — based on this innate proclivity from the moment we wake until we sleep again…
Avoid pain. Pursue pleasure.
But what about suffering? Aristotle didn’t mention suffering. And there’s a difference. Right now, my calves are sore from a sprinting workout — pain.
Countless children are experiencing hunger, disease, severe abuse, and neglect — that’s suffering.
It was Frankyl who, while in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt, realized that despite the freedoms ripped from him, he nonetheless possessed liberties: he could exercise, encourage others, and refuse to demonize her captors.
He never lived in denial with any form of toxic positivity. He accepted reality. And, he accepted his ability to, nonetheless, exercise his few freedoms.
And it was Dostoyevsky (understanding too well due to his violent and unexpected epileptic seizures) who said, “Accept suffering and be redeemed by it.”
I lost my Mother two years ago. For some reason, the loss jolted my senses this week yet again.
Some of you have experienced loss and the subsequent stages: denial, depression, anger, and bargaining.
Day by day, and year by year, I am coming to realize the redemptive part of this loss, this suffering, and it brings such hope.
In our personal lives and work, may we all strengthen our capacity to meet setbacks with understanding. May we even be redeemed by it.
Happy Friday, and have a blessed weekend.