Dignity in Suffering

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Four persons accompanying a boy on a wheelchair entered a popular coffee shop in a hospital.  Once seated, an elderly man who appeared to be the grandfather, patted the boy’s head and made faces to entertain him. A petite woman – I supposed to be the mother – lovingly caressed her son’s head and kissed him from time to time. Nothing was unusual in that scene except that the boy has an enormous head. Yet, he appeared to be enveloped in love.

In a rehab clinic where I often go for the treatment of my frozen shoulder, I saw a small boy carried by his grandfather while the father was trailing along. The boy couldn’t walk and his arms and legs were like that of a rag doll. He was undergoing therapy to strengthen his muscles. The father patiently entertained his son by making strange sounds. The rehab technician massaged the boy’s limb with a heated disk and often made jokes. They played the boy’s favorite song on the clinic’s cell phone.

In another instance, I chanced upon a chubby 4-year old girl being treated for her wobbly legs.  The technician patiently coached her to walk toward a chair with her favorite toy on top of it. Her mother was cheering loud…her daughter’s few steps excited her so much.

Then, there was this patient with a Down Syndrome. He was in the rehab for a neck problem.  I observed how the mother tenderly assisted her son while the father checked on them from time to time. I learned from the therapist that this boy is so much loved by the family. They bring him along with them in attending special occasions, even in trips abroad, though it is certainly inconvenient.  

Countless people experience various sufferings in this world. But like a beautiful Lily flower I saw in a file of debris during my morning walk, we can find beauty even in our pains. Our sicknesses become bearable because of the different support systems the Lord provides. He sends doctors, medicines and technicians to make us well again. When someone is sick in the family, relatives and friends are stirred-up to pray or give financial and emotional support. Along the way we also befriend a lot of people. Pain and sicknesses bring out the best in us. But most importantly our faith and trust in God is strengthened.

Thus, we can face our pains and afflictions because we know we are not alone. Here lies the dignity in suffering, because God is present even in our pains.

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