Wednesday, 25 June 2008
This is a quote from the catholic writer Leon Bloy: 'Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence.' That thought is interesting, I find. On a good day I think that it is true. On a bad day I'm not so sure. After all, many people are not improved by suffering. Some people suffer and as a result they finish up mean, small, frightened, bitter. I am perhaps more interested in what R S Thomas (my favourite poet) has to say in his poem The Unvanquished: 'But you / who are not free to choose / what you suffer can choose / your response.' To me, that is a key statement. There is always that choice. And actually that choice is the one thing which we all possess and which no-one can ever take from us. It is the final freedom. I also like what the Quakers say about suffering. They do not think there is any point in discussing why there is so much suffering. Instead the important question is - What are we going to do with suffering? Again it is a choice, isn't it? Either we allow suffering to make us into small, mean people (as I'm doing at the moment) or we allow it to open new places in our hearts. Finally we have to chose the latter. Give me a few weeks and perhaps I'll get there.