comments about suffering

‘The irony is, however, that our neediness is also the source of our greatest strength, for our need requires the cooperation and love of others from which derives our ability not only to live but to flourish.’

‘we “naturally” disdain those who do not or cannot cover up their neediness.’

STANLEY HAUERWAS (suffering presence)

because suffering is not something that we seek (we are not masochists), but rather is always something that is unasked for and therefore has come upon us from somewhere outside our control, we tend towards seeing the sufferer as a ‘victim or patient’. this is true of most of the objective conversations that one might have about suffering, however I would suggest that a good proportion of us have been in the presence of a sufferer who we would hesitate to call either a victim or a patient.

perhaps this is someone who is stoically bearing a temporary condition for themselves or a loved one – one is acutely aware that they are suffering, but their suffering is not perhaps immediately or constantly obvious. it might be worth questioning if this is a real expression of suffering, one which unites the sufferer with the nonsufferer and which brings a new depth of humanity, or whether it is a form of denial of suffering.

when one is suffering must it be always present to the senses of the sufferer or their friends? my own experience has been that when I have experienced periods of anxiety disorder, there are times when I acutely feel the suffering and it is visible to those outside my own self. however when that suffering is not acutely felt it is still informing my self, my actions and reactions, it is still a part of my personhood.

perhaps counter-intuitively, I experience this as wholeness, despite the fact that most think of mental illness as a type of brokenness.

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