The Cause of Suffering

Pain and suffering are used together in conversation but are two separate issues.

Pain can be physical in nature but suffering is the result of emotions caused by physical and emotional pain.

None of us wants to experience suffering but what happens when we are the cause rather than the recipient?

I don’t mean tragic causation as evening news announcements of killing and destruction.  I mean the little things.

My sister and I were talking about Thanksgiving.  She mentioned remembering a Thanksgiving 22 years ago when my then 8 year old son told her she had really gained a lot of weight.

bathroom scales

I think for most of us, weight is a sensitive issue.  My sister had a perfectly legal excuse for her recent weight gain – she had just had a baby!

Justified or not, she laughingly recalled the words and I knew immediately she had some tiny bit of suffering leftover that she would never blow out of proportion, but I knew the impact for one reason…..she did not forget it.

The things that rarely bother us in life tend to not fill our memory banks.  The situations that cause suffering or extreme fulfillment remain cemented in a mold that can be covered or discovered.

I viewed this conversation as a discovery moment.  One little sentence spoken without intention of hurt can be carried by the recipient of those words for a lifetime.

I think hospice volunteers can learn from the simple and the magnificent how to live in loving kindness and leave patients and families with a permanent sense of caring, compassion, and understanding.

Just a few little words during the day and we need to remind ourselves, “do or can these words cause suffering?”.

We may not stop suffering but my money is on the fact that it will be reduced.  Who will benefit?  You know who…..

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