The Paradox of Living
Oct 09 2019
Living agelessly teaches me…
the paradox of living:
that loss and suffering are my primary means for inner growth
and spiritual development.
A paradox is “an apparent contradiction that points up a truth.”
Have you ever counted your losses? Fully recognized the consequences of what you had to give-up?
Did you lose anything the day you were born?
Do you remember giving-up infancy? Early childhood? Adolescence? Young adulthood?
In order to grow to your next developmental step, you had to first let-go, give-up, lose what you had. If you didn’t let-go, you would not, indeed could not move to the next stage of life – you couldn’t mature, and where would that leave you?
There is no way to stop the life course; there are no foolproof methods to avoid the chance accidents, diseases, unknown maladies, financial setbacks, grief, etc. etc. No, there is no box of safety; no escape from the perils and consequent sufferings that flows from loss and sickness. We live in a wonderful, yet quite perilous world. We try to secure, insure, insulate, and even fool ourselves with illusions of personal safety and security, but of course all this seems delusionary when we find ourselves traumatized by “fateful” reality.
The fact is we do lose, we do suffer. So what meaning might we find in loss? What purpose? What do we do when loss strikes?
First we need to wrap our mind around the fact that loss is the driving force of all growth. There’s another paradox. Indeed, we could even say that we were born to loss, we live to suffer. I know this sounds morbid and even fatalistic, yet it is life!
Second, recognize the inherent learning /growth in every loss. What am I gaining here in the midst of this suffering? The answer is usually growth in virtue... and virtue is love in action. We are called to learn to love better every day, and it seems that loss and suffering is one of our best teachers.
Yours in Christ,
Richard P. Johnson, PhD