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.









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