While sitting on my deck enjoying a cool autumn evening, the phone rang. “Bruce, can you come to the hospital. There’s been a tragic accident.” Two high school boys, best friends, had been driving the country roads faster than they should. The speed of the vehicle would not hold a sharp curve and the car tumbled over and over until finally resting in a cornfield. One walked away unharmed, the other was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries.
Arriving I could hear from the entrance of the emergency room a mother pleading with God for the life of her son. I quickly go to her side and plead with her. He survived, but his injuries confined him to a wheelchair.
When we hear of tragedy, there is a deep-seated psychological defense mechanism that goes to work: we hope it doesn’t happen to us, and if it does: we hope we can handle it. But what if it does happen and we find that it is more than we can bear. What then?
Taking life seriously is to live knowing there is no amount of money, power or planning that can prevent tragedy, suffering, bereavement, dire illness, relationship betrayal and many other troubles that enter our life. We are fragile human beings and are subject to forces beyond our power to control or manage. And we know this intuitively. Those who face pain and suffering learn all too well that their own resources are inadequate.
We need each other. The mother of the injured son needed others to plead with her, help her heal, forgive, reconcile and find meaning. There is no price for the value of such support.
I would also humbly suggest, inevitably the support must be spiritual. When we don’t have answers we look for them. Some curse God in suffering, just as many find Him. What is true for all is when tragedy, pain or suffering come upon us, we finally realize we are not only, not in control of our lives but that we never really were.
So, when life is more than you can handle where do you turn?
Consider the words of C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain”.