If suffering is what unites us as human beings, then how is it that I can ignore the suffering of others when I am ok?
If you don’t have a close connection with suffering you are probably not even reading this article. At least I probably would have not read it until 2010.
This morning I woke up after a very peaceful night of sleep. It was my first almost full night of sleep since I got to the hospital four days ago. I pulled out all the stops last night. I asked for pain meds and sleeping aid.
The problem is I slept too well. My feeding tube came out. There is only one thing worse than having a feeding tube. Having to put it back in while awake.
I hoped they would let me keep it out. No way. It had to go back in. (Fortunately I got a new, clean one).
Here is how it went:
First time: I didn’t swallow at the right time. It went into my mouth. I yanked it out. No way!
Second time: It did not even make it that far.
Third time: The doctor coached me and it made it down: “breathe” now swallow hard, now breathe.” “We did it!”. “But it’s still stuck in my throat!” “That’s the point!” “But it bothers me!” “I’m sure it does, but it’s in. Now let’s get it taped up before it comes back out.” “No negotiating on that point.”
Then I had breakfast…a large latte with sugar…directly into my stomach through my mega-syringe. That is, after a good job of uncontrollable sobbing. Sometimes we just break. I almost always have one of those breaking points sooner or later.
The feeding tube is still there, making me gag, but I feel better. Now I can think again…so I am writing this down to not forget. But I have only been in this condition for four days. What about those who suffer for four weeks, four months, four years? What about those who suffer for eternity?
Some people suffer all their life and then head to an eternity of suffering. I need to stop ignoring the suffering of others. Today is my turn. Tomorrow it’s your turn. And I want to be there for you. Especially if you were there for me. But even if you weren’t.
Suffering unites us more than happiness.
If I know that you are headed to an eternity of suffering I am going to beg with you. This suffering reminds me of what you will go through…forever. I am going to cry with you. I am going to talk to you about it. If my five minutes of suffering felt like an eternity, your eternity of suffering really will really feel like an eternity! It will not end. Our suffering only gives us hope if our hope is Christ.
What have you learned about suffering?
P.S. It looks like I might be getting out Wednesday, but I really want this feeding tube out NOW!