There are only two major paths by which the human soul comes to God: the path of great love, and the one of great suffering. Both finally come down to great suffering—because if we love anything greatly, we will eventually suffer for it.
When we’re young, God hides this from us. We think it won’t have to be true for us. But to love anything in depth and over the long term, we eventually must suffer.Richard Rohr – Life Coming to a Focus Daily Meditation
I’ve often remembered this thought from Richard Rohr – said in different times and different ways, but basically: the path to transformation is either great love, or great suffering.
I used to hear it and struggle to imagine the great suffering. My life has usually been pretty comfortable.
But he’s right, if you open up enough to experience love, then you’re opening yourself up to suffering too.
Parenting has been that journey for me.
A greater love than I knew was there. More pressure than I knew I’d face. More resilience than I could have imagined I’d had, and more than I thought I’d need. More awareness of my own fragility. More delight too.
Our family is definitely still in the pressure cooker. Its hard to say what the lessons learned will be, what the transformation might look like from the other side. For now, it’s hard to get through, and not much sense of hope for change.
Remembering this thought from Richard Rohr gives a glimpse of purpose to the love and suffering of parenting. Maybe this is one of the paths to God.