This past week I have been pondering on how this mysterious God of ours, who somehow lives within each one of us, can grow us through suffering. It brought me to see God as the Ultimate Recycler taking heartbreak, shame, guilt, rejection, abuse, fear, anger, abandonment, or whatever, you can fill in the blank, and use it for our transformation. This, however, is not an automatic, quick, one-sided process. It does require our full participation, awareness, patience, trust, and work.
It seems the very first step in the recycling process is learning to sit with the discomfort, letting pain be pain and mystery be mystery, and trust good will come from it. And while sitting with my pain, I have found breathing and praying eventually reveals the next step needed toward growth.
I would have never volunteered to be widowed at age 33, with three young children, but it did bring me to know a capable woman who could provide for her children, could learn to balance a check book, maintain a house, yard and car, and lead me to develop talents I didn’t know I was capable of performing in the world of work. I would have never opted to lose my youngest son at age 21 to mental illness but it did make me more aware, compassionate, and less judgmental of others. I would have never chosen abuse and Alzheimer’s disease in my parents but it taught me to see God in all things, to know I was worthy of good self-care, to look for my complicity in any trouble, find my voice, and lead me to know true forgiveness and reconciliation.
Teilhard de Chardin wrote: “…it is the law of all progress that is made by passing through some stages of instability and that may take a very long time.” What if we could all trust the Divine recycling process?