Her text came around 9am one day last week. “I’m at a crime scene. I’m parked off to the side. The mother is being arrested, and then the police will release the children to me. I have to take them to school after we do de-escalation.” Once at school, she would have to find eligible family members for custody of the children, or call Child Services. My dear friend is a counselor in an inner city elementary school in a high crime, high poverty area, and sadly she tackles herculean tasks like this on a daily basis. She is relentless and fierce in her pursuit to protect children, but constantly witnessing Suffering is taking its toll. Her view of the Good is obstructed.
This morning as I walked into my local YMCA, I looked up to see yet another occasion for Old Glory to fly at half staff. A symbol of Suffering after our country witnessed the profound sadness of a community and the aftermath of yet another mass shooting. Our collective view of the Good is obstructed.
I’ve recently done research on the teachings of major belief systems on the topic of Suffering. What do the Master Thinkers have to say? What is the point? What is the endgame? What do we do with Suffering? Are we supposed to fight it or accept it? Why do some people encounter enormous amounts of Suffering, and others seem to have so little? What is the tipping point when our own view of the Good is obstructed?
My knowledge quest hasn’t necessarily given me solid answers. Maybe I’ve gained perspective, but no definitive “AHA! Moment.” What I do know is that our greatest weapon amidst the Suffering that we witness or experience is our refusal to allow our view to become completely obstructed.
When we commit to finding the Extraordinary within the Ordinary, we summon the Cosmic Windshield Wipers of Life, and we clear our view. It’s too easy to get enveloped in the bad. It’s too easy to fall down that hole. Our experience with Suffering—either our own or someone else’s – does not revoke our license to seek the GOOD in all things, both great and small.