Archive for February, 2012

How Much Can We Endure?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

God never gives us more than we can handle.

IMHO, this famous saying speaks nonsense! Consider that between preschool and first grade I watched my mother slowly wither away and then die from depression after a painful divorce. Consider that my sister recently succumbed to alcoholic liver disease after drinking against her pain for decades.

Consider that I’ve watched friends destroy themselves in various direct and indirect ways, or that countless patients of mine suffered from self-inflicted wounds and diseases that finally killed them. If you weigh all that evidence (plus any of your own you’d care to add to the mix), you’ll recognize that life overwhelms many people; they cannot endure the hardship and pass from this world in misery. Where is the evidence to suggest that the universe serves up only ordeals we can handle?

On the other hand, there is no trauma or loss so severe it cannot be transmuted into something valuable. The fact that many people never effect such alchemy does not negate the truth that many others do. Transcendence of suffering is always within our reach, though we often don’t know how to grasp it.

Once I viewed a YouTube clip that showed psychiatrist Viktor Frankl talking with a young man afflicted with quadriplegia. This youth described in convincing terms how he gained meaning and insight through his devastating injury. Perhaps only a few paralyzed patients embrace their fate with this level of acceptance, but at least one did, so it must be possible.


 

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  • gary: Thank you for sharing . Being able to forgive ,no matter how hard and panfull to do , is the key step to...
  • Will Meecham, MD, MA: Lilyblessing– You outline the problem well. The post you’ve read was published a...
  • Lilyblessing: I appreciate the effort to express this critique of minfulness. It is a question I have been very aware...
  • Will Meecham, MD, MA: Gary– What an quirky and excellent way of putting it! Thanks for the comment. –Will
  • Gary Ledbetter: Nicely stated. I’ve told people that I love life so much that even if all that was left of me...
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