Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tragedy and Growth

"Physical strength is measured by what we can carry; spiritual by what we can bear." ~ Source Unknown

It's amazing how much change and growth can occur in two years. As the 2-year mark approaches for Austin's accident it's hard to summarize in a few paragraphs how I have evolved. I was reading parts of A Season of Grief, by Ann Dawson and found a couple pages that truly described my thoughts. I've decided to take a shortcut in this entry and share what Dawson had to say...

"When I was newly bereaved, nothing in the world mattered to me but the pain I was enduring. All the minor annoyances I used to make into major issues became insignificant. Worries about the future became meaningless....

Over time, as the sharp edge of grief began to dull, I noticed that people who had once irritated me began to seem more tolerable. Pet peeves like dirty dishes in the sink or wet towels on the floor did not merit the expenditure of energy it would take to raise a complaint. I found myself softening in my grief, becoming less critical and impatient. I started to develop a sense of acceptance of things beyond my control. And gradually, in very short bursts and then in longer and longer periods, I began to become aware once more of the beauty of our universe. The works of God - mountains, trees, clouds, and oceans - become breathtaking works of divine art, and the arts of humankind... Little by little I was made aware of the powerful beauty of creation, and I basked in the warmth of that realization...."

What an awesome thing it is to be confronted with your greatest nightmare, to live through that experience and survive it, and then to come out on the other side of the fire. Those of us who have endured such a fate are often surprised to look back and realize that we did indeed survive the confrontation. We are sometimes even more surprised to understand that the fire of our suffering has tempered us and made us stronger people than we were before our trial.

When I remember the past, I look back with longing on the days when my family was intact.... But I don't miss the person that I was before that time of loss. Although I am now a person who carries a deep sadness within the depths of her soul, a sadness I could have done without if asked, I am also a person with a new strength, a stronger faith, and a renewed sense of respect and awe for the world around me. I have a new thirst for knowledge, a confidence born of adversity, and a great hope for the future.

We can choose to take the sorrows that come our way in this life and allow them to make better people of us....

The sorrows that we endure in this life strengthen us. They make us more compassionate toward others. They help us to appreciate the good things that happen to us, and they often help to improve our perspective in life. Trivial incidents lose the power they once had to annoy us. Often as a result of suffering, we become more spiritual people. We have reason to believe and to hope that there will be a better life after this one, and we become searchers for truths to bear this out. We learn to appreciate our loved ones more deeply, and we become more gentle and more patient than we were before.

Suffering, then, can be considered a gift of sorts. As a result of the adversities we endure, we are forced to grow, to learn, and to love more fully. Without the experience of sorrow in our lives, our growth might not be as meaningful. And, in the end, growth is the reason for our life here on earth: we are here to grow in knowledge, love, and faith. As we grow, therefore, we move closer to God who will one day call us home." Ann Dawson

I am hoping. in the days to come, to be able to write more about how I've changed over the past 2 years. I have so much to say, but sometimes it is hard to put it in words that do it justice. Other times the thoughts roll off the fingers.... I never know just when it will happen, but when it does I will share it with you.

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