Thursday, June 19, 2008

A quick thought...

There is a saying out there, I think it began in Buddhism, but I'm not sure. It says, "Life is suffering."

This line was in "Lamb," and it got me thinking. Does it mean that life (as a state of being)=suffering? Or, could it mean that the people and creatures that have life in them are suffering? There's a difference. The first one is more of an individualistic thing. When I live, I am suffering (some times more than others, as I can imagine is the case with everyone). That's the nature of life. It can't be perfect because we live in a fallen and broken world. I think there is an inate goodness in most people, but I also think that there is hatred and contempt and meanness in the world, too.

The latter explanation for "Life is suffering," is one that takes into account all people, creatures, plants, and everything that lives. Life is the noun of everything that lives in this sense. we all are suffering under the weight of our own shortcomings and those of others. Life all around us suffers, not in an individual way, but in a way that unites us with each other in strife, in pain, and in humiliation.

So, honestly, I think that Life=suffering could be both. Since I'm fond of thinking in relation to communities, I'm more apt to think about the second explanation. And in this, it is interesting to me to think about Christ coming to live among us. Life (in the individual sense) for him became suffering. The eternal Word that came and lived in Jesus experienced what humanity faces all the time. Senselessness. Pain. Grief. Jesus was beaten and executed like a criminal. Life for him was suffering.

And then, on the other hand, Christ came because of the collective suffering of all of humanity; lost in its own wilderness. Jesus, why did you come to Earth? Because the people and creatures of this planet suffer. Because Jesus could offer something, not necessarily to make life easier or more pleasant, but because of love. And love makes hardships easier to bear.

As Christians are called to show Christ to the world in word and deed, may we find our call as ones to bear hardship with others, to carry burdens with those we encounter, to love those in our midst who are friendless and outcast, knowing that life is suffering.

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