The Price of Admission
My heart is broken for the world this morning.
As I write, my friends are being blasted by a hurricane, and other friends are trying to reassemble their lives into a new order after the devastation of another storm.
I feel the pain in my heart as a present reality, and I cannot stop the tears from flowing;
and still I sit amid the flowers, with a pleasant breeze blowing around the mighty oaks who are surrounding me like a fortress.
Oaks topple, too, as everything must, in an endless cycle of death and new life.
To feel deeply is the gift of this human existence.
Suffering is the price we must pay to experience the jewel of compassion. To look into another’s eyes and feel and honor their pain is the nature of Love, Itself.
The difficult truth that we resist facing is that suffering is the price of entry into this world; a fee that, I would like to think, all of us willingly paid to have this human experience.
By our birth, we each agree to be the weak one who will one day suffer so that someone else may have the opportunity to express kindness and feel fulfilled by it.
From this perspective then, our suffering is not a “work out your sins” entry fee or a “silver lining” story or even a “surrogate suffering” on the behalf of someone else.
No, it is much, much greater than that. It is a grand, generous gesture of selflessness.
Take it in fully.
I agree to be born in this world of opposites; a world that offers both pain and pleasure, evil and benevolence, love and hate.
In doing so,
I consent to experience weakness, so that you may play the role of the strong one.
I consent to be injured, so that you can be the mender.
I consent to feel sad, so that you may have the satisfaction of consoling me.
I consent to experience any variety of infirmity, so that you may take care of me and thereby know what it feels like to love until it hurts.
You will be the weak one, and someone else will carry you.
You will be the sick one, and someone else will spread balm on your wounds.
You will be the vulnerable one, and someone else will protect you.
I smile at the thought now that I am grieving, because it is evidence of my compassion. It is a small fee to pay today for this experience of a full heart.
I also know that, in some tomorrow, the price will be greater, so I must remember why I am choosing to pay it.
Viewed from a much wider lens than my day-to-day experience, the choice to be here now is an act of unconditional Love.