Br. Bjorn, OES
During our most recent Friday night study hour, a reflection was sparked with me that I feel is worth sharing. It begins with the words, "just because it hurts doesn't mean it's holy".
For those of you who have lived through, and learned valuable lessons from some of life's many struggles, it is difficult to resist the urge to divulge your insights to people who seem to be in the process of learning the same lessons.
How often do we wish that we could go back in time and tell ourselves the things that we know presently? Would your younger self have listened, and by extension, understood in a way that would circumvent the experiences which led to learning and growth?
The most difficult component of garnering understanding and genuine internal growth is that the only way to truly achieve these things is to experience life and all of its joys and sorrows for one's self. Text may impart some shadow of the understanding of certain things to us; hearing stories told by those who have experienced profound changes might also do the same, but for a person to genuinely understand and known for themselves the lessons that we are called to learn so that we may grow, experiencing a scenario first-hand is often the only way to effectively do it.
This doesn't mean that making yourself suffer, or putting yourself into dangerous or irresponsible situations will speed your progress down the road to enlightenment. On the contrary, forced suffering often leads to bitterness and impedes our ability to learn the lessons set before us.
Over the next week, I invite you to reflect on the blessings that surround you in your current life situation. Ask yourself whether or not you would have been able to recognize and appreciate them 5 or even 10 years ago. You may be surprised to learn that you have grown in ways that have gone unnoticed until presently.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.