I have been thinking about all of the suffering around us, all the pain in the world and all the recent tragedies, and I’ve been wondering about the why. If God is infinite and can do anything and everything, why is there evil, why is there suffering, and why is there so much destruction?
Truthfully, I don’t have an answer, yet I’m reminded of a story of two brothers who both survived the Holocaust and met in a park after many years. One was devout and still a believer and the other was an atheist. The atheist brother turned to the devout brother and asked, “after all the atrocities we have seen, how can you still believe in a god?” The other brother turned to him and said, “I must explain evil, which I obviously can’t, yet you must explain everything else.”
I have suffered from depression for the greater part of my life, and during my depressive episodes I get more depressed when I think of all the suffering, all the pain and all the sorrow, which I guess is natural and makes complete sense.
Yet during the Rosh Hoshana prayers, I started reading the words of King David, known as Psalms or Tehillim, and I found that my soul was ignited and I had an epiphany; can I share the pain of those who suffer without internalizing it? Truth be told, I’m not sure I’m able to, yet I decided I’m going to do my best to choose to be a better human. For those who suffer, I will pray to end all pain and suffering, yet I’m going to try to remind myself that holding onto and internalizing the pain doesn’t make anyone else feel better or heal faster.
Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid internalizing others’ pain and not hold onto the collective destruction and suffering?
One idea is to focus on the beauty, on the people who are helpers, and reflect on all that is good in the world. I have watched in awe as one of my best friends has found so much patience for his child that needs his help. To me, that is Godly, witnessing the strength that comes as a result of his effort.
This week, I’m going to remind myself that the almighty has been around a lot longer than me. I have no idea why evil, destruction, pain and suffering exist in such large amounts. Hopefully, God does have an answer, yet the one thing I can focus on is what I am doing about it, how I am being an agent of change, and how I am doing my part to eradicate evil and alleviate pain.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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