Reflections

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  1. Richard

    How can I know what is beautiful if I have never experienced suffering? I will not see beauty unless I look for it. I offer verses eight and nine of the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians Church. I try to keep my mind on good things that I observe. It isn’t easy. I’m often overwhelmed by the little that I can do to relieve the suffering that I am made aware of. What I can do for the world is to respond with love to one who might reach out to me.

    3 months ago
  2. Cathie

    Beauty in Suffering? If it is my own suffering, I can look for how to respond to it, and I suppose find beauty in how I respond to one of life’s valleys.
    But to look for beauty in someone else’s suffering or the world’s suffering seems a bit voyeuristic to me: if I am experiencing beauty at their suffering but they are not the ones experiencing that beauty, well that just doesn’t feel right to me???

    3 months ago
    1. Anna

      I am with you, Cathie.

      3 months ago
  3. Yram

    The word of the day:
    “I teach my sighs to lengthen into songs.”

    3 months ago
  4. Robin Ann

    Practicing Gratefulness and being in a church community that does all good things. Suffering does bring out goodness though, was so evident
    during September 11th, people dropping everything to drive to NYC to help out in any way possible. I see it personally in times of crisis in my own life. Friends and family there to lend a hand.

    3 months ago
  5. C
    Carissa Thomas

    The beauty of the resiliency of the human spirit, even when faced with devastation, people don’t give up and continue to help each other and continue to push through their lives despite what they’re facing.

    3 months ago
  6. Barb C

    I’ve mentioned the book A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit here before. Highly recommended if you tend to assume that humans always behave badly in crisis. She describes great beauty in the ways that people have come together to help each other when they themselves are suffering enormously. Thinking of that book helps me remember that we are social animals who need each other to thrive, even if not everyone behaves in a prosocial way at times. It’s especially hard to think this right now with the death and devastation in Gaza, in Ukraine, in so many places around the world. And yet I’m sure that people are helping others.

    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/301070/a-paradise-built-in-hell-by-rebecca-solnit/

    3 months ago
    1. Ngoc Nguyen

      I do believe so, people are helping each other! Thank you so much for the book recommendation.

      3 months ago
  7. Carla

    I was reminded of poem I was introduced to in grade school and memorized. (Early 1970’s, non inclusive words still used). “Two men looked out from behind prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars.” It’s attributed to Dale Carnegie. I can monitor my view. Yes I know the “mud,” the suffering is there. I need to look upward, skyward too.

    3 months ago
    1. Barb C

      Thank you for sharing this and for flagging the language. I read poetry every morning and it’s true that the perspective is often that of men in older works. So many wonderful women and nonbinary people writing now and the internet makes it possible for me to find their works– another thing to be grateful for.

      I’m also reminded of the saying “no mud, no lotus”, the title of one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books.

      3 months ago
  8. Ngoc Nguyen

    There’s love and kindness. This question brings me back to the time when our world was suffering from COVID-19. Many companies went bankrupt, and there were still food shortages elsewhere. Masks and medications were delivered within the country and even to other countries. At that time, the USA was not okay. Many people died, and nurses and doctors were called to work day and night. There was a strength of love and a power of unity here. I was in the US during that time for music performances. Due to COVID-19, the rest of my shows were canceled. Even my sponsor lost his job, but he took care of me for five months. How beautiful kindness existed. It is the most valued lesson in my life from my time in the US during the time of suffering.

    3 months ago
    1. L
      Loc Tran

      It was thanks to COVID that our love came, and here we are.

      3 months ago
  9. Carol

    Gratefulness

    3 months ago
    1. L
      Loc Tran

      Agree. Grattitude goes a long ways. It comes in handy when things don’t go as planned.

      3 months ago
  10. Michele

    Nature
    People/strangers helping each other
    Love
    Positive Energy

    3 months ago
    1. L
      Loc Tran

      Great answer. It’s short, sweet, simple, and straight to the point. Staying in the house all day can be the most dangerous place of all. It increases overthinking. We’ll always live in a social world. Helping people is the best buzz.

      3 months ago
      1. Michele

        thank you 🙂

        3 months ago
  11. L
    Loc Tran

    My mom is the source of beauty I see in suffering. She’s known to have an optimistic outlook on life and persevere through challenges. She’s implemented these same values in me at an early age. It’s only easier these days to look for green pastures. We’re only living in a society of instant gratification. If that’s the case, I could easily give up on piano somewhere in my teen years. If I ever feel discontent over a challenge, I’m often reminded of her advice of finding ways to work through challenges. Often times, when my mind becomes clearer, I realize 9 out of every 10 times that the solution is there. It hasn’t been seen in the moment.
    Learning about others also helps me see beauty in suffering. It makes me realize that I’m not the only one going through struggles; even if it’s the same ones. Been there; done that. Talking about ourselves is easy and addicting. Being understood and validated comes with great pleasure. This is easier to do these days with social media like Facebook seeing how many friends and who reacts positively to what we say. It works getting from Point A-B. Then, we end up attracting: wrong crowds, hackers, and hy-jackers.

    3 months ago
  12. Mary Mantei

    What I notice, is that so often where there is suffering, the courage and kindness of people step up to alleviate it. I see that in my family, my community, and beyond.

    3 months ago
  13. J
    John

    A few years ago, I had grown a couple of hibiscus in my back yard. For those who don’t know, they are show offs: large usually red flowers about 3-4 inches in diameter, and bright and delicate at the same time. After I’d planted 3 of these, and cared for them over a season they all bloomed with explosiveness.
    But then I found that the flowers don’t last – duh! However, as each bloom withered on the stem, it not only shrank each day, but the petals changed to a near rainbow of purples, reds, and pinks that was in it’s own way, beautiful in it’s own right. I don’t know if the flower was suffering, but it seemed that it was showing us how even the end of life can be gorgeous.

    3 months ago
    1. Barb C

      This reminds me of the piece omeone shared here a while back, Lessons from Leaves https://grateful.org/seven-lessons-learned-from-leaves/. More recently I read something about trees that noted that when leaves turn color in the fall they are returning their energy to the tree to help it live through the winter. And when they fall to the ground they nourish the soil the tree is growing in. So much beauty in a cycle that humans may describe or perceive as suffering but it isn’t that for the tree.

      3 months ago
    2. Michele

      I live in Florida and I planted a red and yellow hibiscus in my backyard🌺 [I also have Birds of Paradise, Firebush, and Plumeria]

      3 months ago
  14. sunnypatti

    Shifting my focus to remind myself that there is still some beauty despite whatever’s going on.

    3 months ago
  15. Joseph McCann

    It depends on the suffering. Beauty is all around us. The earth is suffering from the results of human beings on the top of the food chain of beings. It does not take long after human absence that the earth will reclaim. Think of pictures of abandoned areas of Detroit, Mayan cities. On this trip we see this along I-40 when humans move on. The spot that has been left, the human imprint then decays and becomes one with the landscape. Takes longer in the desert that wetter climes but it happens. When the suffering of humans, self-inflicted suffering due to the varying degrees of an overactive negative mind set or possibly due to substance abuse, there is beauty in the possibility of change. What helps me is to do a small part of taking care and giving respect to what is beautiful. It is a short time to be here but a long time to be gone.

    3 months ago

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