The simple fact is, that I've never wanted to suffer. I wanted the highs, never the lows. All pain was placed in the box labeled "BAD" and pushed into the farthest reaches. Fear of pain said "this is too horrible" and pride said "you do not need to endure this". And so, over time, all pain became torture. I experienced it as torture and I turned away in horror. But, in the turning away, I lost sight of my soul.

Pride, by definition, is a turning away from God. Out of my terror, my pride was born. Deals with the devil were made: "no matter what you do, you can't hurt me" and "nobody is going to take care of me, but me, so I better just do it". These two contracts became the cornerstone of the castle tower of pride to which I confined myself. But within the cornerstone, lay the sacrifice which ensured the stability and strength of my fortress: my precious soul. The measure of its shadow immured by the stone faced devil called Ego which crushed it under its granite foot.

To excavate the soul, I must decommission this fortress. I must take it apart block by block to unhinge the cornerstone where the sacrifice was laid.

The shadow traders sit and mock me. They whisper, whisper, "You dare not! What will become of you? You cannot bear this pain...leave it, look at this over here!" They crowd me and hustle me. I know them well, for I have traded with them my whole life.

The dreams have led me into the fire, but not without first showing me that I am not alone. That He is here, if I would but see him. He is here for me even when I think he is not. Even in the deepest places of suffering, He is here. Instead of accepting Him, I rail against him, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" A query more whispered than shouted, for I don't truly believe I even deserve an answer. A
nd yet, the dream reveals. To feel into these places, these memories, to descend into the pain, is to experience the profound grief of separation. Grief, the Love remembered, and the longing for something, like an ache deep in the root of my being.

I never saw the benefit of suffering. I never realized that in the suffering I might find the moment, the realization, the sudden epiphany, the Love. Without experiencing the suffering it remains unknown, hidden, without meaning.

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