Suffering

Every man Is born with either a silver spoon In his mouth or a shovel In his hand. If the former Is the case, that Individual can look forward to a life of relative ease and privilege. If It Is the latter. However, the person had best prepare himself to dig through the pile of misfortune life is going to heap upon him. This is the balance of life–that for every man born under a shining sun, there is at least one born under ominous gray thunderclouds.

Those individuals who have a natural inclination awards hard times do have a certain advantage, however, over those who always seem to have it easy. True adversity gives birth to a strength of character that those who avoid it can never hope to attain, understand, or even recognize. The most beautiful aspect of this strength of character Is that it enables the precious few who possess It to look beyond the hazy curtain of their suffering and reach out to those around them, touching them with something that cannot be defined and will not be forgotten.

Perhaps the reason that bad things always seem to happen to good people Is that without a foundation of “goodness,” this strength of character could not exist and all suffering would be in vain. This stirring strength can be seen in Beverly Dip’s essay, “No Rainbows, No Roses. ” Dips, a nurse, relates her experience of being touched by the strength of a dying woman. This woman, Mrs.. Trance, was at the end of her long battle with cancer. Dips had never seen Mrs.. Trance before, but when she entered her patient’s room, all her previous medical experience told her she was about to witness Mrs..

Trance’s last night. Gathering the sterile comfort of this medical knowledge around her, Dips began her usual ministrations, trying to make her patient as comfortable as possible. Touched by the weakness and fragility of her patient, DIPS pulled a chair up and sat by Mrs.. Trance’s side. She was bothered by the absence of the dying woman’s family until Mrs.. Trance weakly stated, “l sent my family . Home tonight didn’t want… Them … To… See (278). Dips then realized that this woman would rather die in the company of total strangers than subject her family to the pain f seeing her leave.

She immediately saw her patient in an entirely different light. No longer was this merely a nurse-patient ” (279), and she watched Mrs.. Trance die not filled with loss, but rather being filled with the enormity of the gift she was given by a dying woman. This essay was the first thing I have ever read that made me cry. Last Thanksgiving, I lost my Aunt Dianne to ovarian cancer. I loved my aunt as I never will love anyone else, and I only realized this after It was too late to tell her. She had always been a underfed person: warm, funny, and compassionate.

I had felt she was the only person who really understood me, and I took it for granted that she would always be she had kept her pain a secret until she was too ill to go on, the cancer advanced rapidly. After less than a year of fighting with chemotherapy that made her seem years older than her age of 55, my aunt was told that nothing more could be done. She lost her husband to liver cancer a month later, and saw her mortality on a daily basis. Yet the smile never left her face, and she never ceased to worry about those round her, neglecting her own needs. As I look back, my arrogance disgusts me.

As long as I stayed with her and cared for her, I thought myself to be the giver, and she the receiver. How wrong I was! I doubt she received from my feeble ministrations a third of what I received from her wisdom and strength. As I did what little I could to offer her comfort, my Aunt Dianne gently counseled me with knowledge she had gained from 55 years of hard existence, never bitter, only concerned that I know how deceptive life can be. Before I knew it, she was gone. The only comfort to my grief is the realization that I witnessed something beautiful and rare.

I saw true strength of character, and I was able to realize it and appreciate it. Even now, I cannot complain about petty gripes without seeing her face with its beautiful serene smile, in spite of the sickness and agony that riddled her body. I wish I could repay her for all she has taught me. Maybe, by taking a tiny piece of her strength and sharing it with others, I can. Although the pain of seeing someone suffer is hard to bear, the strength exhibited in he face of adversity will give meaning to any ordeal.