Friday, June 19, 2009

The Healing of Persons - ...accept...everything

In my effort to understand - myself, my life, my wife, my children, my ministry, my family, my country, etc. I only get more frustrated. To understand...requires so much work, so much knowledge, so much intelligence. And time. And I don't want my effort to understand to take away from my time and energy to actually do life with those I love. But the yearning to understand is still there, in a deep way...

Once again Dr. Paul Tournier has some helpful words, some perspective for me. Here's a paragraph that I thought to be instructive.

Accepting suffering, bereavement, and disease does not mean taking pleasure in them, steeling oneself against them, or hoping that distractions or the passage of time will make us forget them. It means offering them to God so that he can make them bring forth fruit. One does not arrive at this through reasoning, nor is it to be understood through logic; it is the experience of the grace of God.

I had an old and dear friend, one of the men I have esteemed most highly. For some weeks his health had been deteriorating. It was on Christmas Day that the doctor who tended him asked me to go with him on what must be his last visit.

The patient could speak only with difficulty. Medicine could afford little relief; we concentrated on surrounding the sick man with our affection. I was left alone with him for a moment. He spoke painfully to me: "There's something I don't understand..." He did not succeed in saying what it was he did not understand. This struck me particularly in a man who all his life had been devoted to intellectual clarity. Faith had always had the last word with him, but it was allied to a most lively intelligence. One felt that he was still troubled by whatever it was he did not understand. But he was too weak now to put his problem into words. And I realized that it would have been useless to ask him any questions, or to start a discussion.

After a moment's silence, I bent over him and said quietly: "You know that the most important thing itn the world is not to understand, but to accept." With a happy smile he stammered: "Yes... it's true... I do accept... everything." It was almost the last thing he said. After my visit he fell asleep. During the night he suddenly awoke, sat up, and said aloud: "I am going to heaven," and died.

~ Paul Tournier, The Healing of Persons, p155

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