April 16, 2014
Over the last few years of my life, I think it is fair to say that I have become well acquainted with suffering. Only, I haven't really. I have felt the emotions, the effects, yes. But I do not understand it well enough to be acquaintances with it. And as I ponder endlessly about it, it comes down to two concepts, really. The first is the nature of suffering. In other words, what is the suffering like? The second is what to do with the suffering. Life sucks, now what? Rather than try to explain them, I'm going to try a different approach. I'm going to use different anecdotes of my time with patients or literary sources. All of them are as much right as they are wrong in that these are eternal questions of what it means to be human. Ultimately, I would guess that if one were to interview 100 people undergoing intense suffering, while there would absolutely be some commonalities, there would be 100 different stories rich with their own shadows of gray and subtleties of truth for that individual. As always, all stories of patients are complete bull plop with respect to facts but 100% true.