Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble;
my eye is consumed with sorrow,
and also my throat and belly.
For my life is wasted with grief,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of affliction,
and my bones are consumed. Psalm 31:9
It’s a shameful admission, but Palm Sunday services (or Resurrection services, really) had never been very meaningful to me.
Until now. For many reasons, yesterday, I was in a different spiritual place – literally and figuratively. The priest’s message at the church I now call home was centered around a gentle consideration comprised of three words:
“Embrace the Suffering.”
Such a powerful practice in empathy to help us appreciate what Jesus did for us.
I was completely intrigued by this dissonance of the words “embrace” and “suffering” together as they were. Still, I wasn’t sure that I could get into a place of gloom and lament or even imagine myself in a place of extreme suffering at this time of my life.
But I could certainly remember a time when I didn’t have to imagine these emotions, because I experienced these realities firsthand. It was a time when my eye and my throat and my belly and my bones were consumed with sorrow. A time when darkness and death filled my thoughts.
These days, I am still working on embracing a life of faith and surrendering to the mysteries and miracles of it all. It’s hard work.
Yet yesterday, I couldn’t help feel closer to Jesus. Not because I could hold up my past suffering for measure against a crucifixion.
Instead, I could memorialize a time when evil ruminations ate away at my brain. I could remember a time when I was almost dead…
But then remember that I came back.
Better than ever.
With almost no logical reason or explanation.
Yes, I can now embrace my own past suffering.
Because it helped me realize a miracle.