Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Richard Rohr has written a new book called, "The Naked Now." I haven't read it yet, but I have heard him speak, and some of the ideas in the book were introduced to me when he spoke in Portland, OR. I want to share this with you, because it so perfectly relates to, and explains, the way it felt to be plunged suddenly into the world of pediatric cancer with our previously healthy, 11-and-a-half year-old daughter (with an unknown carcinoma, stage 4) and the daily living of suffering through the horrors of illness, treatment and its effects.

"Question of the Day:  What have I done with my pain?

"Great suffering opens us to transformation in a different way. Here, things usually happen against our will—which is precisely what makes it suffering! Over time, we can learn to give up our defended state, but it is never easy. This is surely what we mean by spiritual warfare.

"The situation is what it is, although we will invariably go through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, resignation, and (hopefully) on to acceptance. The suffering might feel wrong, terminal, absurd, unjust, impossible, physically painful, or just outside of our comfort zone. We must eventually learn a proper attitude toward suffering, because many things every day leave us out of control or outside of our comfort zone (even if it is just a stop light).

"Always remember: if we do not transform our pain we will surely transmit it."
Excerpted and adapted from “Opening the Door: Great Suffering and Great Love” from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

Now the work is to continue, daily, to try to transform the pain- to let it be transformed by God- into something that can bless. I certainly don't want to live my life transmitting pain into the world.


Elizabeth said...

Well, you know how I feel about this. Thank you, Karen.

Allegra Smith said...

Karen dear, I was taught that happiness when shared is twice as much happiness, and that pain or sadness when shared, is just half as much.

Indeed pain is a transformational tool, which can be used as a tool or as a weapon. You have used your pain to help others, to spread love and to bring comfort to other children.

Give time to time and you yourself will be able to see that you do not transmit pain to others, at least not to me, but that you show that pain can be used to create love and compassion when guided by a higher motive. Yours has in a most tangible way.

Blessings from both of us.

Maggie May said...

This is true wisdom. Thank you for sharing and I will be adding this book to my Goodreads list.

Angela said...

That last line...what we do not transform, we will transmit, has now been "given" to me three times in the past week...hmmm...such profound, and difficult, truth. Holding you as you are working in the depths of that transforming...love you...

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are such an inspiration....always learning, always teahcing how to live with such a loss.
hugs, suz

Daisy said...

Wow, Karen. You continue to amaze me.

I like Rohr as well though I've only read one "Everything Belongs" that I got from a friend. The Naked Now sounds very good.


deb said...

You bless.
You do.
You have, and you will.