Platitudes and Banality

I hate it when something bad happens to people, others would try to help out by offering words of comfort that are platitudes that smack of banality and even insincerity. And I find myself guilty of such quite often.

A loved one dies and I will inevitably hear, “He is now in a better place, where there is no more pain and suffering.” Sure. But it is not about the pain of the departed but my pain of losing him. I will now miss his love, his presence and part of the constellation that is my life is now forever broken.

People go through pain and suffering and someone will sooner or later speak these words, “You are just being tested. You come out stronger and better because of this.” Or, “God has a plan for you because when one door closes, he opens more windows for you.” I feel being patronized when I hear these words. I need to feel my pain and my suffering. In the end, I will make the decision to pull up my boots straps and get up and go again. But don’t patronize me.

A couple has a child with autism or a  disability. It makes other people uncomfortable and their automatic nice response is, “Oh you have been so blessed to be gifted with an angel.” It must rankle the parents for living with this angel means daily doses of frustrations, feelings of helplessness and constant searchings for how to handle this gift of an angel.

Death is the end of life here on earth as we know it. Everyone must eventually come to terms with in and not just stumble into it by accident. Pain and suffering happen. Some people become broken and bitter because of it. Others indeed come out better and stronger. Life is never perfect for we are dealt the cards often without our choice or consent. For some, this becomes their undoing. Others make do and create happiness and joy with whatever life deals out to them.

In the silence and solitude of prayer, I ask that I see and hear and touch and smell and sense what life is offering me – joy and pain, frustrations and accomplishments, love and rejections, community and loneliness. In the end, it is my choice, my creativity and yes, grace what I make out of my life. I pray that my life’s Source and Meaning comes and abides with me in things and people I can see and hear and touch and smell and sense.

Lord, let your face shine on me. ~ Psalm 119

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,

for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Luke 10:21-22

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