There are many teachings which say we are meant to learn long-suffering as much as to develop kindness, compassion, love, mercy, oneness, etc. Many of us intellectually shy away from this with great energy. There is a perspective that long-suffering is the choosing of suffering, when instead we could choose to not suffer. The idea of not suffering is a very popular one. As human beings, we know suffering all too well, as we’ve all gone through it and all been witness to it.
And yet, …
we are meant to learn long-suffering, so, as humans, we do learn it and mostly learn it without realizing it is also a part of being alive. Here are some experiences in which we have learned it.
1. Long-suffering is seeing someone cause suffering to another person/persons, and our wanting to but being unable to stop it.
2. Long-suffering is the awareness of the suffering of people in faraway lands, with us not having the ability to change it except in seemingly small ways from so far away.
3. Long-suffering is seeing people and other lives in need, but not being able to help them except through prayer.
4. Long-suffering is knowing people, like ourselves, going through horrors which we know could be ourselves on any other day.
5. Long-suffering is caring about another person, but not being able to save them from themselves or the path of pain they choose.
6. Long-suffering is loving a child, and not able to completely protect them from the world’s dangers or the world’s horrors.
7. Long-suffering is loving a parent and not able to stop their body or their brain from breaking down and losing themselves during a very long, slow process of disappearing.
8. Long-suffering is doing the best we can, and still it’s not good enough for those who criticize and judge.
9. Long-suffering is knowing the path of pain which we have walked, but still being judged so easily by those who don’t know our life.
10. Long-suffering is dying on a cross and some of our last prayers being for help for others in “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
11. Long-suffering is offering a beautiful, wonderful, healing, joy-filled, loving Sacred Truth to others but it being rejected with mocking and contempt.
12. Long-suffering is when we offer real water to someone dying of thirst, and they reject it choosing instead their familiarity to dying of thirst.
13. Long-suffering is knowing all we have to offer some people is love, but they would have none of it.
14. Long-suffering is having received regular prejudice, hatred, violence, injustice, harm and worse because of who and what we are, yet knowing that others who are like us in some way (color, race, religion, gender, etc) – even those we love with all our hearts – could receive the same prejudice, hatred, violence, pain, suffering and/or horrors that we have received and we can’t protect them from it.
15. Long Suffering is believing in God, but knowing that innocence, unselfishness and goodness, as within Christ, will not stop others whose agenda is for themselves only and them to hate, harm or even kill people.
16. Long suffering is realizing deep inside that the horrors of the world don’t just happen to “other people” and not ourselves. The horrors of the world can and many times do happen also to ourselves and those we love.
17. Long suffering is only experienced by those people who choose to experience oneness with life, who see life eye-to-eye equal with others, who seek to let others know they are not alone, who seek to help heal all life.
Part of long-suffering is realizing there’s little we can do to change others’ immediate sorrow and pain – sometimes nothing that is quick and responsive. But, as we pray, which calls for us to be patient and endure the suffering, along with others who may feel hopelessness, we can pray, choosing the faith which, with our prayers, comes healing and change.
We experience long-suffering, because we are human beings, we care, we love, and we keep on keeping on, even with pain in our hearts and tears in our eyes. We believe that healing can come and so we endure. We rarely choose “learning long suffering”. But, we find we experience it as part of living, loving and being loved.
This, and more, is long-suffering.