Tuesday, March 5, 2013

suffering--word associations

The council of friends is scattered right now.  One is snow-birding in California, and another has had a number of business related trips. 

However, I talked with each, and also number of other friends who I know have experienced significant suffering.  Some of the comments I will give individual posts, but from different conversations, I collect the following word associations for suffering:

sacrifice
affliction
anguish
pain
grief
weakness
discouragement
despair
hardship
persecution
poverty
exhaustion
buffeted
sin

From Thesaurus.com, I found "suffering" defined as "pain, agony".  Synonyms listed were: adversity, affliction, anguish, difficulty, discomfort, distress, dolor, hardship, martyrdom, misery, misfortune, ordeal, passion, torment, torture.

Wikipedia defined "suffering" broadly as "an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual."  The article further explained that suffering can be subdivided into physical suffering, mental suffering, emotional suffering, psychological suffering, and even spiritual suffering.  In addition: 
[Suffering] may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and frequency of occurrence usually compound that of intensity. Attitudes toward suffering may vary widely, in the sufferer or other people, according to how much it is regarded as avoidable or unavoidable, useful or useless, deserved or undeserved.

So a paper cut causes a certain level of suffering, and betrayal by a friend causes a different level of suffering.  But the intensity of pain felt by each will differ (stating the obvious there).

What is the worst thing you have ever suffered?

3 comments:

Penny said...

I used to remember my "suffering" of various things a lot more than I do now, but I have to say that by far the most difficult and long-felt pain comes from having lost a brother and sister to death long before I thought it was right that they should leave. At different times...more years than I can accurately count off-hand, but sometimes the grief is still palpable...and foreign to me while being so familiar. Grief doesn't necessarily preclude happiness, and it's interesting to me that at this point I can experience both perceptions in the same moment. But I sure do miss them!

lisa croker said...

This is a hard one. Like Penny said, for me, there have been many times and situations in life which I have suffered through; this most recent stint in a major 'desert' is up near the top of the list for sure...

But, I think for me it's having such a heart to be a Mama and year in year out the dream does not come to be thanks to Infertility... I have made peace with it with the Lord, I believe there is a promise for my hubby and I, however it hurts like a physical pain at times and before I left it at the altar the pain was truly unbearable! x

Tammie said...

There is a beauty in suffering. I don't yet know the deep pain of your losses.

Penny, you have nailed the truth: "the grief is still palpable. . .and foreign to me while being so familiar." I feel that. And also the marvel of experiencing deep grief and profound joy simultaneously.<3

Lisa, I know a measure of the pain of infertility, and the mental torment that can happen as a woman tries to wrap her mind around the "why" of infertility. <3 I hope that God grants you the desire of your heart.