The Teaching of Suffering

You’ve heard the old expression “If you want an omelette, you have to break some eggs.”

Came across this quote the other day:

~ There is no oil without squeezing the olives; no wine without pressing the grapes; no fragrance without crushing the flower.

I don’t know who wrote it or where it’s from. But I like it.

As a believer in synchronicity, I’m wondering what the message is for me. My mom had a saying: “It’s a sign.”

At the moment, here’s the message I’m coming up with.

Sometimes, to obtain the sweetest things in life, you have to suffer first. Perhaps a great deal of suffering. Maybe even to death.

Kahil Gibran wrote: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls . . . seared with scars.”

Recently, in working with some of my clients, we have been discussing the topic of coping with adversity in the workplace. An Operations manager, who is a veteran, said that he is teaching his team to “Adapt and Overcome,” a principle he learned as a soldier.

At the Marines Blog, the author writes about how “Adapt and Overcome” helps returning soldiers deal with post-traumatic stress as they struggle back into civilian life:

(My song) ‘Lucky One’ is the story of a service member dealing with the effects of PTSD and combat stress after losing three close friends in an IED blast. When he returns home, his mind continually relives the moment while those around him say how lucky he was to have survived. In this case, he doesn’t feel like the lucky one as he deals with the effects of combat stress and finds himself on the verge of an irreversible decision. I know service members and friends who struggle with these issues. With “Lucky One” I hope to tell a story that lets service members know, that even though they may feel alone, there are others struggling with the stress and concerns of combat and military life and it’s okay to seek help. It’s sometimes easy to recognize service members with physical scars but much more difficult to see the scars that hide deep inside of those suffering...”

Suffering is the lesson and we are the students. If we pass the test and are successful, it is because we adapted, we overcame the trial.

Helen Keller wrote: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Charles Dickens wrote: “Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.

Like bread broken and shared. It doesn’t nourish until we tear it apart and eat it.

~ There is no oil without squeezing the olives; no wine without pressing the grapes; no fragrance without crushing the flower.

No sweetness without suffering.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday December 12, 2011

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