weave through me
that nothing's left
I got a lot of mixed messages growing up, but one thing was clear: suffering is noble. If you're having fun, if things are easy, you're doing something wrong. I went wild in opposition to that in my teenage years and had fun til it almost killed me. But there's something we can choose that is neither suffering nor a diverting, fleeting pleasure. There is something - the One thing - that is very, very Good... and Lasting. I'll never find it til i stop waving my banner of suffering.
But i love suffering! It's true. Even decades after i consciously rejected the idea of holy martyrdom, i find a part of me still goes there when the chips are down. I have a strong desire for peace and grooviness and at the time a sense of some unspeakable sin that only great suffering can atone for. And so there is a degree of respect for outcasts, poverty, struggle. Triumph is great - as long as it's preceded by lots of adversity, right? Who likes watching a movie where everything's fine from start to finish. The characters wake up happy and eat cake and get married and grow old together and watch the sunset.
No, we want the excitement, the challenge. And that's normal, and even healthy from one perspective. But then there's rolling around in the muck, making the absolute most of our misery or pain. We wear our suffering like a uniform - how else would the other sufferers know we're a good person?
Living in this world, pain and loss are a given. But suffering is a choice. I can choose instead to accept the transitory nature of things. I can choose to drop the banner, take off the uniform and just stand there naked for a moment. Take a breath. The sin we've been trying to suffer away comes to light and vanishes. It was never there. There was always only Light. The Good, Lasting thing.
There's nothing to prove anymore. How strange!
Becoming present, we become the this goodness, this inner Light. It is true nobility. Holiness. It is the source of creative power, the well-spring of joy. It knows how to have fun, and laugh, and find beauty in all things. Tapped in to this, the struggle is over - that's why we can only stand it for a little while. But it grows on you. Life flows with ease, come on, how delightful! And this is really what the saints were pointing to.
So, suffering is fun. In a way. For a while. And then you want more. How long do we want to put off our connection with the sparkling Diamond-Light that we are? It's ours, for the taking, in this very moment.
Once upon a time there was an angel who thought she was a troll. She knew people didn't like trolls so she went to great lengths to hide her trollness and become the kind of creature that people loved. The problem was that everyone loved a different kind of creature. When she wore the mask of a cat, it displeased the dog people. When she wore the mask of a lion, it displeased the mouse people. When she wore a bluebird mask, the eagle people didn't like it.
One day the angel - for she really was an angel - became so tired of making masks that she set them all aside and sat under a tree by the river in the forest. After a while, a troll wondered by, and asked her "Why are you sitting there under a tree by the river, with all those masks beside you?"
"Because I am a troll and I'm tired," she answered.
The troll laughed. It laughed so hard it fell down on the ground and rolled around. It looked so funny that the angel, for the first time in a long while, began to laugh. As she laughed, something strange began to happen. Before her very eyes, wings began to sprout from the shoulders of the troll. They were the loveliest wings she ever saw, and they were made of light. The troll shimmered, winked at her, and then vanished into the light, so that before her now stood a magnificent, shining being of golden-white light.
"How beautiful you are!" she cried to the being.
"I am beautiful," said the being, "because I am your mirror-image."
The angel, who thought she was a troll, walked to the river's edge and looked down at her reflection. There in the water, shining back at her with golden-white light, was an angel.
She laughed with delight, and cried with joy. When she turned to thank the being, it was gone. "Thank you!" she said in her heart, and she knew her prayer was heard.
The forest glowed with her own light, and she danced with the dryads until the moon came up.
Ann Marie Cross shares current insights & stories on the path to the inner Treasure.
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