Sufferings, endurance, character = Hope

(Photograph: statue in chapel niche Notre Dame Cathedral/ Paris, France/ Julie Cook /2011)

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
― Saint Paul
(Romans 5:3 NRSV)

I know what you’re thinking……
How in the world, when one is in the midst of “suffering“, when life is hard, when there is sickness, worry, sadness, despair… how in the hell can one rejoice???…
—what twisted sort of sick individual can actually rejoice when life absolutely sucks??? How can one muster the strength in the midst of misery…

Well, you have two choices…either you roll over and die– or— you get up…you simply get up and you put one foot in front of the other foot and you keep doing that, over and over…. and before long you’re moving again……

The words here are true—for this is Truth. How do I know it’s truth? I’ve lived long enough to know it.

The result is indeed endurance
as in the hunker-down, I’m in the trenches, suck it up, I’m ready to go, I’m ready to roll, I’m in it for the long haul type of endurance.
This in turns produces what is known as character
as in if it doesn’t kill you–it makes you stronger, I’m the better for it, I’ve got hindsight and you don’t kind of character—

which all produces Hope

Blessed hope—blessèd assurance, the guarantee of the next step…as in there is in deed a next step…the fat lady is not singing, the sun is still coming up, tomorrow will still show up, I will smile again, I can smile again, there is another chance…..

I believe these words—
Yes, I have known suffering, sadness, misery…things have been bad, been tough, been scary… I’ve wanted to roll over and die—-but, and it’s a big but, I made a choice— I got up…I got up because I believed in something I could not see, I believed in Hope—I cling to that Hope. Hope is a promise—a promise of an inestimable Love….a Love that goes beyond everything, that’s greater than what my mind can comprehend or I have ever known…. Without that Love, without that Hope… there is no point….
to me, however, there is always a point—roll over and die—or get up—I say, get up!!