Copyright Ian Hochberg 2016
The greatest gift to come from suffering is to find out how to endure it, and then to help others through theirs.
I’m Gary Copper in the film Sergeant York, on a mountaintop. On his way to murder a man, he meets his destiny to change, to do good.
I have not killed anyone as he was intent on doing until this lightning rod encounter with himself.
I have had a transformation of life that came from the immense travails and deep troughs that were put before me that led to a clearinghouse meeting with my destiny, in a way that told me I can change and the time to do it is now. On sharing the extent of how uphill this life has been, all other conversations are shunted to silence from those witnessing the reeling degree of suffering a person can sustain and then rise above.
Some of the kindness and compassion I now possess came by example from that which was given to me: yet the majority of it was forged by the lack of it in those who showed little or none, when I could have used it the most.
From the fragmented panic of abandonment in raw red times and the horror of receiving an actual door slammed in my face during a weakened skeletal period came an ability to empathize with others in pain and knowing what words and actions can help bring calm and comfort.
When I’m in suffering, don’t give me advice, especially when I don’t ask for it. Don’t give me great sage philosophy because that’s distancing, places you above me and I’m too upset to dissect it. Don’t tell me how bad you or others have it, because this creates anger, frustration and comparisons.
When I’m feeling closed in and frightened, keep your intentions simple and if you can relate, let me know.
The most comforting expression I can offer to another in suffering, when it is the most intense, the words I want to hear as well, yet so few are aware of to say, is “almost anyone in your place would feel as you do now”.
The vigilant attention I now place on respecting other’s personal boundaries as well as my own comes from my having been mistreated far too many times by bullies and observing the same fate of others.
Maybe you have been spared major suffering in your life. I share this with you because most likely to some degree, you haven’t, and might feel less alone and more among those who have been through the same.