Mother: So you say John was hit by one of the children today?
Daycare Worker: Several of them actually! They were after him all day!
Mother: What? Why didn’t you put a stop to this?
Daycare Worker: Leaning into adversity is an important part of John’s development. He learned a lot today.
Mother: OMG, he has a bruise on his face!
Daycare Worker: Yes, they knocked him down on the playground. It really was something to behold. Maybe one of the other children will get a chance tomorrow.
Mother: Why are you acting like his being abused is good thing? OMG, he has a bruise on his face!
Daycare Worker: You know this is a Christian daycare, right?
The most important part of memory is the part that recalls, when a struggle is over, what or those who helped the body, wrapped around said memory, through it. To relive mentally the depth of appreciation one felt in that low place, from a high one, is even more satisfying than plugging the two ends of an extension cord together, when the construction project is done.
How solid it makes us, needlessly afterwards to maintain the ‘platitudes’ that got us through a crisis; rigidly forever to adhere to the disciplines that cured our ailments; secretly to lavish on the people that comforted us the same desperate devotion we felt for them when in pain!
There are so many mechanisms in life for growth; overeating and listening being perhaps the two most obvious and comfortable; some, like suffering, we wish were less effective, in hopes they would be employed less.
Often I have questioned the widely held tenet–as I like to try to do all things I hear so often repeated, as if they needed repeating, as if there were still people alive who didn’t yet blindly believe them–that suffering is a lesson, and perhaps the most important way that we grow.
While I can’t and wouldn’t want to dispute that strength of character develops in the one subjected to deprivation, pain, and loss, perhaps even in measure to its severity, I can certainly state that I see no reason that it needs to.
Let’s at this point make up a word, for necessary distinctions such as this. We’ll call them triversions.
To me this triversion then captures well the power and near-perfection of the mind, being another of its incalculable balancing acts, one that dictates we never seek out suffering, for ourselves or others, nor ever waste it when it is forced upon us.
And of course we would not want to be greedy, in maintaining this balance; to aim for too much tolerance, or pain, or sainthood; to instead self-sacrificingly say, “No, I am good enough, and you are going to jail now.”
And so this post has just defined Justice.
Although its point was to exult in this next bit:
Carryig some crutches on our backs on a wobbly walk through the woods, complete with optional rock scramble; leaning our healthy heads again on the shoulder of the nurse; turning down the cheesecake, after our cholesterol again is normal: these things, happening later, develop the character much more than months of being lame, and in a better way.
And effectively so we demonstrate suffering’s shortcut, intelligence. “Look, universe, I’ve heard it already. And I’m keeping it. You need not say again.” And effectively too we thus demonstrate a more correct interpretation of suffering than the wise and so, not cruel parent; we cease looking up to it; we show it instead to be simply yet another type of information that we can choose incorporate into our thinking or not, one readily it can be supplanted by other types; we show how little we relish it, and need it not it all.
And so the second most important part of memory then, is for the face of the dog that bit us, the pattern of the poisonous snake, the license plate of the truck that ran us off the road, and all the hallmarks of the situation about to go pear-shaped, and how we avoided this last time.
Can anyone explain to . . . anyone, I guess, why preachers seem to love so much saying the words “smash” and “nail” and “whip” and “beat”?
Crush me God . . . Crush me God . . . Smash my life . . . Under Your Bootheel . . .This is good . . . I don’t know why . . . But still I’m sure. . .
Or if the magical powers of sacrifice, which did not work when pagans killed lambs, would have worked as well if a perfect-God-as-human-who-should-be-beyond-death passed away quietly, at age 80, maybe while relaxing and soaking his feet in warm water, with 17,155 more days of sharing amazing lessons of love and inspiration behind him, as they would if he was executed at age 33?
Seriously, where is the textbook on sacrificial power? I’m reasonably intelligent. I could get a lot done with it. Just minor stuff, like killing ants so the Broncos could win the Super Bowl. Or did it really work just the one time?
Shoutout to any church speaker who manages to add “try to stop it” to his /her next sermon on adversity and suffering.