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Suffering: The Irritant That Produces The Pearl


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Dear Ones,

I've just read a post on Psych Central's World of Psychology blog that I'd like to share with all of you. This woman's experience certainly fits with my own, and I'd like to know your reaction to her words as well:

Suffering: The Irritant That Produces the Pearl

Writing a Commencement speech is like writing your eulogy: You have to nail down in 10 minutes or less a succinct message that represents your entire life. It's best to capture all the sweat and tears, the laughter and sorrow, life's drama in a few tight, coherent paragraphs. Having been asked to give one in May to my alma mater, Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, I have been studying Commencement addresses of the pros: J.K. Rowling, Anna Quindlen, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs. And here's what all of them had in common: suffering.

Yep. The primary theme in each of these essays is that suffering is the rubble on which success is built. I'm sure that you can bypass suffering altogether, but then you'd have a rather boring Commencement speech. I've read some of those too.

It's the First Noble Truth of Buddhism: "Life is suffering." Read on here...

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I like this piece from Psych today a LOT. I think she is right on....it is through the suffering and pain that we become more real and who we are. Wish it was not that way but it is. Peace is the goal...for sure.

Today, I bumped into a woman in the Post Office. We started chatting...I learned she lost her husband 5 weeks ago..after 3 years of care giving. As we talked and shared our common loss, I then learned that just before she started care giving her husband, she lost two children just 3 months apart. Kids were in their 20s and early 30s. Now that is a plateful to deal with. I offered to have coffee with her as she is really alone. She lit up...all of this gave me pause to think about how strong we all are...and that there is always someone who has suffered a great loss or pain than me. Does not diminish my pain one bit but surely makes me grateful that it is not worse.

Thanks for the piece on suffering.

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Dear Marty,

Thanks for sharing this blog from Psych's Central and I resonate with this woman's thinking and I commend her for her courage in being "real". It is hard go against societal pressures and belief systems that for the most part look at pain and struggle as an "illness" which sadly add's to one's pain and struggle.

I believe life is full of struggle and suffering, the only difference between us all; is the cause or root of that struggle and suffering. I also believe that struggle and suffering can give rise for pearls to be formed; but in my belief pearls can only be formed if we choose it to be so and welcome what life brings our way and look at it as opportunities for us to enahnce the process of pearls to be formed or not.

I am often asked how can you smile, and I always reply because I chose to and because with the birth of each new day I am suffering less than the previous day. I recently shared something about my history with someone that if I looked at only what happened to me those times, surely I would have succumbed and no pearls would have been formed, but alongside what happened to me those times, something wonderful and amazing happened, a pair of wild wolves chose to be my guardian angels all those times in the woods all those years ago.

I guess what I am trying to say is that with my experience of life so far it is full of struggle and suffering but it is in our power and only our power that joy can abide with us in abundance as well and the choice is our own.

So thanks again Marty it seems perfect that I chose to read this blog today...so I see the joy in the fact that today I am not well and had to forgo my plans for my Birthday today....so I would read this today. It is all in how we choose to see our struggles and pain and what we choose to do in response to it.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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  • 1 year later...


I liked the article. I believe that we all suffer and struggle through this short lifetime we are here on earth. I also believe that there are those moments of profound joy that help us move through the suffering. The pain will always be with us.

One thing that struck me from the article posted on 15 April 2011 titled: "Suffering: The Irritant That Produces the Pearl" by Therese J. Borchard was the quote by J. K. Rowling -..."I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies." I think all of us throughout our lives have found those 'friends'. I am finding people like that on this web site. People who are willing to accept where I am in this awful pain I'm in over the death of Jim. This loss will never ever leave me but someday I know I'll find the peace to live with it. That is my choice. And thank you for moderating this web site. Anne

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