I have just finished reading a book entitled “The Second Mountain” by David Brooks. In this book, Brooks explores four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose. It is a book about personal fulfillment and the sense of agency that is required to live a joyous life. In the beginning chapters, he speaks about suffering:
“There’s nothing intrinsically noble about suffering. Sometimes grief is just grief, to be gotten through. Many bad things happen in life, and it’s a mistake to try and sentimentalize these moments away by saying that they must be happening to serve some higher good. But sometimes, when suffering can be connected to a larger narrative of change and redemption, we can suffer our way to wisdom. This is the kind of wisdom you can’t learn from books; you have to experience it yourself. Sometimes you experience your first taste of nobility in the way you respond to suffering.”
He goes on to say, “The right thing to do when you are in moments of suffering is to stand erect in the suffering. Wait. See what it has to teach you. Understand that your suffering is a task that, if handled correctly, with the help of others, will lead to enlargement, not diminishment.”
Suffer our way to wisdom – a hopeful sentiment and so true. We learn just as much about ourselves from what hurt us as from what loves us. Brook’s wise words also touch on the importance of leaning into the support of our loved ones, for it is the midst of care and connection that we best heal.
Check out “The Second Mountain” by David Brooks here: https://www.amazon.ca/Second-Mountain-David-Brooks/dp/0812993268/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+second+mountain&qid=1573151255&sr=8-1
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