I apologise for being somewhat melancholic; however, I received a phone call informing me that my grandmother (maternal side) has 2-4 weeks to live. The sadness is compounded by the fact she will not receive visitors, which is entirely consistent with her reclusive lifestyle. Only once in the last 12 years have I successfully obtained permission to visit, and that was so she could meet my son. Sadly he was too young to remember meeting her and despite my best efforts in the past, he will never get to meet her again, and neither will I.
My grandmother is quite a character coming from Romany Gypsy stock, and her husband is younger than my mum. She’s been plagued with lifelong mental ‘issues’ which appear to run through the female side of the family, with me as the exception. Although, I must add that I know nothing of the paternal side of my family.
Anyway, I came across a website featuring quotes on suffering. Here’s a few I thought poignant:
“We have all sufficient strength to endure the misfortunes of others”
François de la Rochefoucauld
“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.”
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.”
Henry David Thoreau
“I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy!”
“Mysteriously and in ways that are totally remote from natural experience, the gray drizzle of horror induced by depression takes on the quality of physical pain.”
“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.”
“Don’t look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you’ll know you’re dead.”
I’ll stop there.
Let me know if you find any particularly incisive. Feel free to share quotations from other sources.
I’ll kick off with a quotation paraphrased from the Bible which encapsulates the purpose of suffering for me:
We suffer that we may comfort those who suffer.
And it seems Mother Theresa touched on this principle:
“One must really have suffered oneself to help others.”
And this is of course, the very concept of the Wounded Healer.
And is this perhaps the culmination of suffering?
“I have suffered too much in this world not to hope for another.”