Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Joy and Misery

I remember a seminary class I attended in the 11th grade where the teacher had written on the board,
"Why Suffer?"

He then taught a class about all the reasons he had uncovered for human suffering.  I am grateful for that class because I think it taught me that suffering is going to happen, and too not get to hung up on the whole, "WHY??????" mentality;). 

I think it is good to wonder why to a point, but I also feel that we aren't always given answers.  It is a part of life that we are to struggle against all odds.  It gives excitement to our overall story.  Who wants to pass down a story to their grand kids about how well they did because everything was so easy?  No no-- we want to be legendary.  We want to have something to say about how we were strong, intelligent beings who molded-- with difficulty--- their life until it was shaped into something worth reading about.  I want my life to be gorgeous because I made it that way, not because that is how it was handed to me.

But-  I am off the original topic.

Last month I came across something in my scripture reading that I hadn't thought about before.  I believe it answers the , "Why Suffer?"  question a bit.  Even though I write about wanting to be able to hand down a glorious story to my grandchildren, it is still difficult to hang on to such a romantic mentality when in the depths of crappy misery.  Oh is it hard.  It is good during these times especially to be reminded why we struggle on to wrestle life into what we want it to be.

So if you are trudging on every day, just glad to be able to put one torturous foot in front of the other, barely hanging on with your chipped fingernails-- perhaps this one is for you. 

Have you ever read The Count of Monte Cristo?

(SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't read this novel, there are spoilers in this next paragraph)

Well, you should if ya haven't.  I loved it, yet there was a part that sincerely bothered me after I read it.  During the novel the "count" feels he is blessed with resources that grant him the ability to act in Gods name for revenge on those who ruined his life.  That part was interesting enough.  He also felt it in his power to reward those he admired and who tried to help him in his life.  So he did so.  There was one Character in particular who he felt deep love and friendship towards.  So he set about making this man miserable.  He lets this man think his true love was dead.  He let this man eventually "kill" himself because he was so miserable over it, but she wasn't really dead and he wasn't really killing himself.  When the man woke up again after attempting suicide, he was in his loves arms.   The friend was given a letter from the Count explaining that since he loved his friend so well, he wanted him to be truly happy.  The Count tells his friend that he knows deep and true happiness is never achieved until you have felt total misery.  Oh yes.  When I finished reading that portion of the novel and after I had closed my shocked mouth,  I felt indignation at the Count's treatment of one he professed to love so well.

A few weeks later I was reading in the Book Of Mormon, 2 Nephi chapter two verse 23

The verse is talking about Adam and Eve and how if they had remained in the Garden of Eden they would have,
"remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery..."

I read and re-read this scripture.  I was already thinking about this topic because of the novel I had recently finished, so it was so surprising to run across what looked like the exact same view point as the novel I had been reading-- yet it was there in my scriptures!

Perhaps if we never experience misery-- And I mean MISERY.  That is the word used.  MISERY.  Duh duh DUHHHHH.....

Perhaps if we never experience misery, we will never know joy.  If men are that they might have joy, well-- they also are that might have misery, or they will never have joy.

In a dark hour, I read that novel, then I read that scripture, and I knew I was experiencing muddy ugly misery.  I also remembered that it was only so that I could understand joy once it was in front of me.  It reminded to me start shaping my life work with that muddy misery, so that when my grandchildren learn about me someday, they will see that I shaped my muddy misery time with care and I came through with an awesome sculpture.  They can know that I experienced true joy and I was able to recognize it.  They will say-- I hope that I can experience Joy too, and they will know that if they are to do that, they will have to have misery as well, so they won't be afraid of it so much when it comes.  They will be able to take misery more in stride, knowing life comes with both it and joy, and they should be glad because it is either both or nothing.

If I could go back and choose, I would choose both. 

(You are thinking... what is she looking at.....?)


HAYHAY said...

It has been fun to finally sit down and catch up on your blog! It is beautiful. I wish we could have been here for Chuck's sweet bash! that looked like an awesome party. Your dad is so fun! I'm so glad he visited! I love this post. I love what you said about your life being gorgeous because you made it that way! You are the best.

CandiShack said...

I like how you said "If men are that they might have joy, well, they also are that they might have misery." So TRUE!