Monday, May 27, 2013

THE FREEDOM TO GIVE MEANING TO OUR SUFFERING



Published on Apr 30, 2013
3-minute video of Frank Simmonds of Brooklyn, NY (who suffers from advanced-stage neuroendocrine cancer) speaking about the meaning of suffering. He asks not to be pitied, but to be accompanied.



Published on May 15, 2013
Frank's second video where he speaks frankly about his experience. "I am part of a community, a companionship of friends and loved ones who help me realize that God is with us right here, right now, and His humanity is the evidence."

I did an interview with Frank's wife Rita several months back on the sacrament of marriage. You can find it here.


9 comments:

  1. Thank you Heather and thank YOU Frank. This is what I needed to hear.

    My suffering is much, much less than Frank's. I almost hesitate to post it, but long-story short, I have daily pain from being rear-ended in my car at a red light almost a month ago. I am going to PT and doing what I'm supposed to, but the pain, paperwork, anxiety about having to appear in court as witness, resentment about being in a no-fault state, etc., leads me to moments of despair. I am not vindictive, but I may be liable for 20% of my med bills plus deductible. The worst part is, I had a premonition I would be in a car accident, and yet, I still agreed to do a driving favor for a friend.

    So I can't blame God, He tried to warn me.

    The other person got a ticket, but I have the pain. And the anger and worry.

    Anyway, Frank's story and words make me feel better, because it reminds me that even though I can't control getting rear ended by another car, I can control what I do with my suffering. I like the reminder that I have "freedom" in how I choose to deal with it. And I am hopeful the physical pain will heal, but in those despairing moments, when I wonder if I will always have pain when I look down to read (reading is a big part of my job and also a passion) it's good to know I can use this to bring me closer to God.

    One little thing I started doing, even before I read this, is when I get those thoughts of "ow my neck is hurting, when will this end, how dare that kid drive into my car and then try to downplay it, I hate my stupid no-fault state, etc."...in those moments, I say a prayer for a friend's friend who has incurable ovarian cancer, and that helps me feel gratitude for my own situation, and a sense of usefulness that I pray for another.

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  2. And of course I will pray for Frank too. Sorry for my previous rambling comment, but the neck pain combined with the frustration of figuring out a new wireless keyboard made it difficult to edit my post down to something shorter.

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  3. Maybe some of your readers would enjoy reading this profile of Frank, written by Christopher Bacich: "Out of the Tunnel, Toward Destiny," http://www.traces-cl.com/2013/01/outofthetunnel.html

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  4. Perhaps your readers would appreciate this profile of Frank: "Out of the Tunnel, Toward Destiny," http://www.traces-cl.com/2013/01/outofthetunnel.html.

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  5. Thanks Pez, I read it. I love this quote from the article Speaking about how he faces his illness as a husband and father of two small boys, he says, “When you’re aware of who you are, that you belong to God, that you’re His, everything changes. God is the Lord of my life, not cancer. I belong to Him, not to this disease."

    I feel like a complete spiritual wimp to complain about whiplash while others suffer from cancer. But Frank's videos and that interview have helped me nonetheless.

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  6. I shall be praying for Mr Simmonds, and for his family. (I have just now re-watched the second video -- such a noble and inspiring testimony!)

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  7. This was beautiful witness, and a reminder to accept my sufferings big or little. What an incredible source of grace!

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  8. Whatever our suffering, whether whiplash, late-stage cancer, or the burden of our own weak and broken selves, the suffering is everybody's...thanks for the comments, solidarity, and the wonderful piece on Frank in Traces.

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I WELCOME your comments!!!