During spiritual direction, I said that I somehow got the idea that the farther we are along our Christian path, the less likely we are to experience emotional pain and suffering. In other words, as we grow less attached to the world around us, and more attached to God, we should hurt less.
Where, dear reader, did I get this idea? There is nothing in the scriptures that promises that. In fact, it is basically the opposite. 'Pick up your cross daily' is not a promise that being a Christian will be a walk in the park.
And for me, it goes further. Somewhere in my head, I began to equate pain and suffering (especially emotional pain) with....sin.
I realize that when I am in pain, when I am suffering, I start looking around for a sin to blame. (And unlike Job, I usually can find something!) I have an underlying belief that I am inevitably the cause of my own suffering, through some sin or other. Not only that, I realize that I have a sense of shame around pain. I want to hide my pain because it is shameful.
Is this my past, new age, theology rearing it's ugly head? Is this the whole 'you draw this energy to yourself' stuff?
I remember when my friend Steve died of a drug overdose several years ago. I was devastated. But I knew that he was with God... off to a better place. I felt like I wasn't 'spiritual' enough if I was experiencing this much pain over his death. Thank God for the priest at the funeral, who preached on Jesus crying with Mary and Martha at Lazarus' grave. I suddenly felt permission to cry, to grieve.
I sometimes try to connect my suffering to that of Jesus, but if I have this underlying idea that I don't have the right to feel pain, it becomes a hollow gesture.
After rereading Job, I realize that I may never understand suffering, but that is ok, too. In the end, Job realized that he would never get it, either.
I need to pray about this.