Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Lessons from Suffering Friends

Everyday I'm hustling.  Running from work to activity to event to practice and falling into bed exhausted.  Most of us feel the same way, I'm sure!  

I always feel like I'm juuuust barely getting by, that life is so busy and difficult, and then I think "How would I survive if something *actually hard* were to happen?"

What if my husband or child got sick?

What if my child lived a lifestyle in opposition to how I was raising him?

What if one of my parents died?

What if we lost our home?

Like, look God, I'm barely making it by when everything is relatively going well.  How could I do all of this in light of a tragedy?

There are so many people that I am praying for right now.  A woman I've only "met" online whose husband was just recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  Another online friend who is newly divorced and raising small children on her own.  A former boss/family friend who passed away during a surgery at age 63.  A coworker whose son is battling cancer.

How do people survive these losses?

The woman whose husband has brain cancer has such strong faith and such a spirit of gratitude that she continues to hope for recovery.  The other day, she posted a photo of the recorded rosary she says everyday, and it's the recording from my own home parish.  What a small world!  To know that we both pray the same Rosary, across the country, for the healing of her husband, just blows my mind.

The new divorcee who has enough on her own plate right now, but takes time to encourage others in their hardships by saying "So if you're out there, failing at the thing that you thought defined you, I'm here to tell you this: The thing that defines you is God's all-consuming love for you.  And you can't fail at that, no matter what you do."

The wife of the family friend who passed away unexpectedly wrote in his obituary, "Jim had a contagious enthusiasm for life, a huge presence, and a brilliant mind. Jim was a friend to all and a light in his community. Life is so fragile; hold your loved ones close and try to live a little more like Jim."

As for my coworker who has spent countless hours travelling to Boston with her son for cancer treatment, when I asked her how she was doing it all, told me: You just do it.  It's your child and you do all you can and you don't think about any other alternative.  She recently had the chance to relax when they learned he is finally in remission, thanks be to God!

Our pastor gave a great homily last Sunday, about not confusing God's Will with life's circumstances.  Not everything that happens, he explained, was God's Will, otherwise sin would never happen.  What we need to do is pray for the clarity of God's Will within the circumstances of life.  To be blunt, bad stuff is gonna happen, but God will always be with us through it.  He doesn't make the bad stuff happen, but He can bring good out of it.  While I'm seriously thankful that we are not experiencing any tragedies (let's keep it that way, mmmkay?), it is comforting to watch so many amazing people deal with theirs with such strength and grace.  And it's a great reminder to not let their suffering be in vain, but rather let it teach us to pray and live and love and be grateful, as we do not know the day or the hour.


  1. What a great reminder, Colleen! I have had my share of tragedy and I know people close to me who have theirs. Life can be beautiful as well as tragic but we must not take it for granted. God can still truly bless us. I wish I'd realized way back when the encouragement of God's all-consuming love for me. That was beautiful.

  2. Caroline EdwardsOctober 26, 2019

    Beautiful words and inspiring advice to live and love in the present! It’s so hard to rise up out of a hardship. Thank you for the encouragement of hope and faith to get us through life’s unfortunate circumstances.


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