“God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our own will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus
The beauty of this quote is not a result of word pairing, but instead, of the earth shattering truth it speaks. So much of who we are, who we have become, is because of the situations that we have endured, the people we have encountered, the genes we have inherited. Suffering and pain bring about the appreciation of peace and mercy. There has been this shift within our culture to shy away from things that do not feel comforting, that bring about displeasure. I say, no, don’t do that. Lean into the misery, lean into the grit, feel the dirt in your soul and learn from the season of suffering so that when your flowers of glory and victory blooms you can appreciate all of its beauty. It feels burdensome and terrifying to endure such calamity, but a life lived only half experienced is even more tragic. It is in your heart break that you feel everything so deeply and it is in the recovery where you witness the shadows of your strength manifest into will and power. The meaning of life can be debated upon, as it has been since the inception of humanity perhaps. Nonetheless, it does not negate the fact that in life we learn or we do not learn enough, and even within those two choices emerges experiences. Within the gracious moments of experience comes as Aeschylus disdainfully explains a process of procuring wisdom. It is this wisdom that is worth the restless nights, the awful flashbacks of what we did, the moments of recognizing the emptiness within ourselves where we wish more compassion lied or where we wished away caring too much. There is so much complexity to the spectrum of humanity that it would be disappointing to not wallow in all that it has to offer. Crawl into your darkness and find the light that is hidden in the deepest corner of you. Against our own will comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God but a much needed experience for us to truly live alive. We cannot have love without disdain, we cannot have peace without warring, and we cannot have light without darkness. How would we be able to distinguish what we want without experiencing or witnessing what we do not? There is growth to be had in all that we live through, all of it.