The Gift of Suffering

By some miracle I made it to the 11 o’clock mass. I work nights and so my body clock is really screwed up. You will rarely see me outside before noon. So today was definitely an exception.

I wanted to go to the morning mass because the place I hear mass at, Club Filipino is just across the street. It’s very convenient.

I was happy to see that the priest, Father Christian was the one saying mass. I like Father Christian. He’s a young priest who has a good sense of humor. He also knows how to give adequate length yet insightful sermons. Unlike some priests who go on and on yet end up not making sense at all.

During his sermon, Father Christian said something that really struck me. He quoted someone, I forget who “Suffering is a gift from god in order for us to know the fullness of life “.

I understood what that meant fully. In hindsight I realized that all the suffering I’ve gone through as a result of my disease has allowed me to appreciate life more. I don’t take the small things for granted.

I admit that growing up I had a tendency to be a bit conceited. I remember as a kid thinking about how great I was. I studied at an exclusive school and I was born into a good family. I was the first grandchild on my mother’s side, which meant my maternal grand parents dotted me on. They often bought me toys and took me out for no reason. I had a good childhood but I also tended to think about myself more than others. I was slowly becoming a bit selfish.

When I showed signs of my disease my life changed. I slowly lost my abilities. This taught me a big lesson in humility. I learned that I was not the center of the world, I could not do everything by myself and that I needed help from people. I learned to appreciate the sacrifices people made for me.

My parents had to give up a lot of things just so I could have the best medical care they could provide. They saved up so they could bring me to California and New York so specialists could look at me.

I also learned to appreciate the simple things in life. Spending time with friends and loved ones, simple joys of eating together, spending the day at the park or just a simple dip in the pool. I appreciate those things more now than when I was “normal”.

I’m not saying all suffering are gifts from God or even God given, man and his greed cause most sufferings. However some sufferings were put in our lives in order for us to appreciate the gifts and the good things God has also placed in it.

We all have our burdens and challenges to carry. No one goes through life without these but these challenges and burdens can be gifts that allow us to see the greatness of life.

3 Replies to “The Gift of Suffering”

  1. In 2 Corinthians 1:4, we learn that ‘He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.’ I believe that this too, is why we suffer so that we have the experience & compassion to help others who find themselves in similar situations. I hate that you suffer from this dreaded disease but I love what it has done for your character. My 16 year old does not have nearly the maturity to make this connection but I hope in time, he comes to the same conclusions that you have. You have a level head and a good heart Juan.

    ♥ Sabrina

  2. Thanks for the note Sabrina. I believe what you said as well. I learned compassion for others because of the hardships I go through. I understand how it is to need compassion therefore I know I should give it as well.

    Zack is 16. I didn’t know much when I was that age too. I have almost 20 years on him. He’ll mature. I know that with a mom like you, he’ll be fine.

  3. Dicks,

    Your posts continue to amaze me. Your perspectives really show how spirit-filled you are. To be able to say all these things, inspite and despite of.

    I have always known you have a talent for writing. But when combined with grace from Him, your posts become infinitely more effective and I must say “hard hitting.” You should compile your entries and create a book to be able to inspire more people.

    May God be praised!


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