The best choices in life often bring the highest risk of suffering
Such as the choice to open my heart. Particularly when chances seem slim. When I know my agency only marginally influences the outcome… because the outcome is determined by someone else’s.
Experience seems to say the risk isn’t worth it
…but when I look past the “seems,” I choose to see that it is worth it.
An end or a pause in a good thing doesn’t mean the thing was never good. I choose to remember the good with fondness.
A disappointed hope doesn’t negate the fun I had hoping. I choose to look back on my excitement and smile.
A change in a relationship doesn’t mean the connection of the past is spoiled. I choose to cherish the beauty of time together.
Experience seems to say I’m not enough
I’m too shy, too afraid, too hurt, too honest, too skinny, too old… Too much of so much, and still not enough.
But I choose to believe that I am. And grace helps me know that I am.
So why do I choose to keep opening my heart to potential suffering? Why do I choose to disagree with the past? Answering this has been my HWN recently…
My friend Alyssa shared this quote from Viktor Frankl a few days ago:
If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.
The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity – even under the most difficult circumstances – to add a deeper meaning to his life… Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.
I want to be worthy of my suffering. And I guess one reason I keep choosing to open my heart is because I know…
Suffering helps me grow and become
…when I choose to give meaning to it. For example, current suffering can be evidence that I took a risk to make a miracle happen. It’s evidence that I’m willing to work towards true joy and connection :) Evidence that my heart isn’t hardened. For me that’s meaning enough.
Frankl also quoted Dostoevsky saying,
“There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.”
I suppose I’d rather risk opening my heart to suffering than condemn it to atrophy in an attempt to protect it. Maybe by continually choosing this risk, I can be worthy of my suffering…?
Another reason I keep choosing to open my heart is because…
The best choices in life also bring the highest chance for happiness :)
I can’t selectively numb. I can’t close my heart to suffering without shutting out potential happiness. And in the end, the joy of one success will outweigh the suffering of the past. Even if I have to take a thousand risks beforehand.
The last thing I want to add is my goal to…
Love through the suffering
When I decide to open my heart, and after a time see it’s likely to end in suffering, what do I do then? Immediately close my heart so it won’t get worse? Really I think it’s best to open my heart further. Because I want to love others enough to desire their happiness more than my own. As Elder Holland said:
“True love blooms when we care more about another person than we care about ourselves.”
Sometimes that means supporting others who choose what makes them happy, even if it isn’t what would make me happy. In a way this allows me to be happy for their happiness :)
Rather than hiding from the suffering or even just enduring it, I want to lean into it and love through it. Maybe then I can be worthy of my suffering and more ready to open my heart again in the future.
p.s. A couple highlights since my last post… I got to go on a beautiful hike with a beautiful person last week!
And yesterday I enjoyed the Freedom Festival parade and Kayaking down Provo River to celebrate the 4th :)