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Advent Day 5: Suffering Honour and Glory to God

Lovely!  I spent most of the day yesterday battling a migraine!  

Migraines are one of the things I inherited from my father.  He had them quite badly all his life.  One of the things that I have to just suffer through!  

I have a friend in my migraine support group whose migraines are connected to her allergy to corn.  Next time you are in the store, any store, natural Co-op to the Big-box take a good look at the ingredients; corn is everywhere, even in the covering of medicine!  My friend says that she could spend her whole day in bed, because truly the pain is that bad, but what type of life would that be!  As for suffering, she won't put up with that -- no way, not the suffering in silence so people notice you type, no way; she would rather triumph than cry!

This has a great deal of emotional energy for my friend.  In her childhood her mother would "constantly" bring up, even magnify, her daughters condition, almost as a source of pride, pride that God had given her a little saint who suffers!  My friend bites her tongue when well-meaning people at Church come and say to her: "Oh, your suffering will get you into heaven!"  "How brave you are to suffer like this!"  She will say: "They look at me with those you poor dear puppy eyes, as if I should be rolled up the communion line in a gurney! I hate it!" For her she sees that suffering an excuse for defeatism.

What I have found is there is a generational reaction to situations like this: The older a woman/mom is, the more there is this over reaction to suffering, almost a sort of worship.  The younger the woman/mom the less tolerance there is for that kind of thing; they have things to do!  My friend described it this way: "I know I have migraines, that's not the point, the point is HOW well will you live with the migraines! That is what gives honour and glory to God!"  I remember listening to her and thinking: "Yeah, God, I know, I know! This is something I should take to discern, thanks for reminding me!"  I do the Catholic Martyr Suffering! When I would have a migraine my mother boasted about me, I loved it, only because it was one of the few things she thought I was worthy of doing!  But I have seen others who put the person who is suffering and place them on a pedestal, giving them the right NOT to have to do anything to change, or to find the best way to deal with the situation.  For older moms like that, if you took away their children's suffering you took away their job, their identity!  And for the one suffering, if you allow them to be that golden suffering child, they don't cope well when others tell them its time to grow up and look for solutions and coping strategies.

I guess the next time I have a migraine I better check the Golden Suffering Child at the door!

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