Do I Suffer, Well?

Actually kind of creepy

The words stung.

The question was hard.

“Do I suffer, well ?”

The words sank into me. Quietly. Thoughtfully.

Could I answer this? Honestly?

Being a GriefShare facilitator, walking with others through the darkness ……. faced with questions that are often times difficult to answer…

“Do I suffer, well ?”

The question was not asking do I suffer. I could have answered that, easily.

I do. You do. We all do. The question of suffering is deep seated, in the heart, of all.

Sometimes I  suffer in the glaring lights of hospitals, the nurse urgently yelling “Code Blue”.

Then the sounds of stillness. No breathing. No life.

At other times the suffering is in silence, locked in my own thoughts, left to wonder if fear is ever anything, but raw?

So, yes I suffer…but, do I suffer well?

The room is quiet. I can hear myself breathing, ever so softly.

Well?

When suffering comes, and it always comes in some form…..

Do I run to God?  or away?

Because isn’t that what suffering well, really means? That I know who to run to for comfort?

Going to the One who understands what it is to suffer, so much better than I do.

When the hurt is all consuming and my thoughts are incoherent….

When the cry can’t escape my throat…

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26  KJV

Isn’t it important who my weary soul searches for?

If I must suffer, and in this world that is not even the question…

I want to know that I’ve done it well.

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Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!

Dale Earnhardt's (#3 car) fatal crash in Turn ...

Image via Wikipedia

Isn’t it interesting how certain events in life stand out as a pivotal moment? I see the scene played out in my mind’s eye, as if it just happened yesterday.

I was sitting on the floor in front of the television on that Sunday afternoon, 10 years ago. I was a new widow, still in the beginning stages of grief, as I watched the Daytona 500 that year. Alone. My husband who had been a huge Dale Earnhardt fan, got me hooked on NASCAR from the time we had first started dating. Everyone knew his devotion to #3. Now, I was the one watching the race….cheering for Dale Sr. in the confines of my living room, even as I mourned the death of my husband who had been his biggest fan. It was almost therapy for me….as in my mind, the two men were intertwined. The man and the fan.

In the last lap of the Daytona 500, Earnhardt was in second place behind Michael Waltrip. Things were looking good. Then it happened. The black car smashed into the wall. In the blink of an eye…it was over. Dale didn’t emerge from his car.

I had to leave to go to evening church, not knowing if the Intimidator was even alive. I remember after the service the pastor quietly said, “I was just informed that Mr. Earnhardt did not survive the crash this afternoon. He is gone. Let’s say a prayer for his family.”

Gone. Not coming back. Even though I did not know this racing legend personally, to me he was a symbol of something  shared with my late husband. His death was another loss. Painful and all consuming.

The 2011 NASCAR season starts this Sunday, in the race at Daytona. A lot has happened in the ten years since the tragic accident where “the man in black” lost his life. Much has changed. In NASCAR….and with me.

The paths we walk in this life, don’t come with maps. We don’t have tour guides and we have no idea what the future holds. We like to think we do, but the future could change in a split second….we are not the ones in control.

I don’t presume to know the state of Mr. Earnhardt’s eternal soul, but when he got into his car that afternoon, I’m pretty sure he had no idea that he was going to be stepping into eternity by the time the race was over. I pray he was ready.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7