Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"we assume life will go a certain way, and then it doesn't...and we find ourselves in a place we never would have imagined on our own. and so it was difficult and unexpected and maybe even tragic - and yet it opened us up and freed us to see things in a whole new way. suffering does that; it hurts, but it also creates..."

a few weeks a go, i wrote a blog about the hurting side of suffering; you know, the part that most of us focus on, and the stuff that we'll do anything to avoid or cover up. this week, though, i'm turning our focus on the outcome of it, the 'end' result, the creation, if you will.

it takes me all of five seconds of scrolling down my twitter feed or watching the news to read or hear about something horrible that's happening in our world, but what the news doesn't show you is the good that can come out of tragedy and suffering ... if we let it.

situated in the core of toronto, the first freestanding HIV/AIDS facility in canada, casey's house [], exists to provide treatment, support and palliative care for people affected by this life-altering disease. what you wouldn't know from reading this, however, is that casey's house was birthed out of unimaginable pain. after losing her only son at the hands of a drunk driver, a lady by the name of june callwood decided to open casey's house to ensure that no one would ever have to die alone or uncared for. suffering creates.

emma was a beautiful soul with an unshakeable faith in God and a passion for kids. at the age of 15, after a courageous eight and a half month battle with acute myeloid leukemia, she passed away.

i watched her family, as they faced insurmountable grief, carry on the legacy of their daughter by creating an organization by the name of 'emma's house' [], which exists to build orphanages across the world. i'm proud to report that the very first 'emma's house' was built this past spring and is currently home for eight orphans in northern uganda, with plans to build their next one in zimbabwe, and many more after that. suffering creates.

a lot of us may not be able to relate to the grief and pain that comes with losing a child, or anyone close to us for that matter, but we all know what it's like to suffer in our own way. the question i pose to you today, however, is this: do we all know what it's like to allow the pain that once paralyzed us to be used to create something good?

it doesn't have to be as big as creating a home for those dying from a horrible disease or african orphans; it may look as small as letting your pain free you to see things in a new light, propel you to reorganize your priorities, give you the kick you need to start following your dreams, or it could look as simple as creating a deep connection between two people who desperately need to know that someone else can relate to the loss or pain that they feel.

whatever it is, don't just suffer; create.

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