A Confession

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

A Confession

I should like this to be accepted as my confession. There is no limit to human suffering. When one thinks, "Now I have touched the bottom of the sea...now I can go no deeper," one goes deeper and so it is forever. I thought that last October at the Medical Center, another slicing of the flesh would be death. But November and December have been so much more terrible that I think with affection of what I had in October. Suffering is boundless. It is eternity. One pang is eternal torment. Physical suffering is... child`s play. To have one`s breast crushed by a great stone, one could laugh.

I do not want to die without leaving a record of my belief that suffering can be overcome. For I do believe it. What must one do? There is no question of "passing beyond it". This is false!

One must submit.Do not resist. Take it. Be overwhelmed. Accept it fully. Make it part of life.

Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. So suffering must become love. This is the mystery. This is what I must do. I must pass from personal love to greater love. I must give to the whole of life what I gave to one. The present agony will pass... if it doesn`t kill. It won`t last.

Now I am a like a man who has had his heart torn out--- but bear it--- bear it. As in the physical world so in the spiritual world, pain does not last forever. It is only so terribly acute now. It is as though a ghastly accident had happened. If I can cease relieving all the shock and horror of it, cease going over it, I will get stronger.

Now I see faces of people, good people. They not only helped me bear the pain, but a number of them each in his own way, suggested that suffering maybe the road to a deeper understanding of the tragic lot of a human being, and thus, an essential way of embracing one`s love for suffering humanity. Another suggested that real beauty, that kind of beauty that is a witness to truth, comes through suffering. Hence, I shall make it so. I shall learn the lessons it teaches. These are not idle words. These are not the consolations of the sick.

Life if a mystery. The fearful pain will fade. I must turn to work. I must put my agony into something, change. "Sorrow shall be changed into joy".

It is to lose one`s self more utterly, to love more deeply, to feel part of life....not separate.

O life, accept me----make me worthy---teach me.

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