If someone told me that they "loved suffering" when I was a young man, I would have thought them a little strange.
In my greener years, I tried to avoid fire and seek out the cool comfort of water. But my head kept popping up in the fire.
After getting burned enough times through ignorance of this seeming contradiction, I learned to stop resisting the fire and to enter it willingly.
Willingness revealed this strange paradox to me. True peace and more was hiding within the flames.
Yes, of course, Love includes suffering.
To love suffering is not the same as liking it.
To love suffering is not the same as wallowing in it.
To love suffering is not something we will likely be able to "do.”
However, we can be willing.
Willing to do our best to meet our pain directly and nakedly.
Willing to set aside, even for a moment, our assumptions about what we think it means. As well as any fear we may have of it, or impulse we may feel to get rid of it.
Willing to set aside our ancient reflex to run from what hurts. Allowing our reactive mind to pause for a moment.
As we make contact with our pain and suffering, perhaps we say hello, respectfully, for the first time. Maybe we can recognize that it wants to protect us, not harm us.
This moment of contact, free from our habituated refusal of its presence in our bodies, minds, or hearts, is a moment of loving our suffering.
This love heals.
Not by removing something poisonous, but by including something that is part of who we are.
This love transforms.
Not by finally fixing the wound we imagined was proof of our inadequacy, but by unburdening us of our judgment of it, allowing us to bless and include our pain as part of the totality of Life.
Paradoxically, when we learn to suffer well, our suffering ceases to be suffering altogether. We may still appear to be feeling a painful experience, but we are genuinely and deeply happy none-the-less.
For me, walking on water pales compared to this ordinary miracle. It is accessible to anyone who has at least moments of suffering, moments of lingering unhappiness, that can provide an opportunity to practice this form of water walking.
When we allow ourselves to open 100% to what we tried to push away just a moment before, we may be surprised by what we find and what we don't find.
Beyond the hard shell of our contraction against pain, there is freedom bigger than the sky. There is blissfulness sweeter than honey. There is a hallelujah that springs from our hearts if we let it. Because when we know in our bones that nothing can separate us from Love itself, we also realize that we are that Love.
Just as we are, we are part of the Wholeness of this Greater Life and Love, part of this Miracle and Mystery of Being.