This morning, as sweat drips from my exhausted frame, I’m reflecting on the dramatic difference between chosen suffering and unchosen suffering. Seven men, this morning, came to the 3PP by choice. They knew full well what was coming – acute pain. They chose to suffer. In fact we kinda enjoyed the comradarie of suffering. My bride has been going through some unchosen suffering for the past three months. Being beside her I’ve realized how weak I am at sitting in suffering that is out of my control. I’m soft and it sucks to look in the mirror and face this fact. My dear friend, Grappy, wrote beautifully about the acute, unchosen suffering in his life. I share it here for you. Slow down. Let it in.
“As I travel on my life journey and reflect on my Moment of Truth I have come to realize there are quite a few. Each of them were profound and caused me to change directions or at least deeply assess the direction I was heading. One stands out. Amazingly, when I reflect on these moments I have an acute awareness of the time and place. I remember the moments and the circumstances. I remember where I was and many of the details that were a part of that specific moment. I remember the intense emotion that was invoked. I remember feeling a sense of heightened awareness. I remember wanting more. I remember everything about the moment from the location and time, and events just before and just after the moment. I remember reflecting on its impact on others. There is great clarity to this day on what I was feeling and why I changed directions. These moments of truth have exposed themselves in my personal life, professional life, athletic life, coaching life, marriage and life as a parent. Each of them caused me to chase the same thing. I had to chase discomfort. Every single moment of truth caused me to move toward more pain which ultimately resulted in less. A bizarre phenomenon for sure. Silencing the world, reflecting on the situation and hungering for a solution is how I managed every moment of truth. All of them required action. All of them had an unrelenting, well defined WHY!
There has been no greater moment of truth for me then when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. This is my most foundational and deepest moment of truth. It was the circumstances around this decision that led me to HIM that is my Ultimate Moment of Truth. I would define it as the “releasing of control”. That’s my greatest moment of truth. Complete surrender.
Choosing to leave a full scholarship and move to Iowa made sense. I controlled it. I valued hard work. I understood “CHOSEN” suffering. I controlled my suffering. I realized to be Elite I had to immerse myself in the most difficult circumstances. I controlled my circumstances. It made perfect sense to me. Mostly because the harder I worked the more success I had, despite never attaining my ultimate goal in any given year. I didn’t live in fear. I Controlled it all. At least I thought I did. I believe I wrote the story of my life. I believed in the odds of hard work “trumping” average work. It was logical. Life was about deciding and chasing with an expected outcome in mind. That was flawed thinking on many levels.
What wasn’t logical was the pain that came with the loss of my son. This was the first time in my life I had no control over the outcome. That made no sense. It had been engrained in me to control the controllable components that would lead to the outcome I desired. I was brainwashed to control every situation. A champion “Wills” himself to the finish line. We control. We take charge. CHOSEN suffering. Chosen love. Call it what you want. Spin it to fit whatever model you want. The bottom line was it was the releasing of control. The surrendering to something bigger that was the Moment of Truth in my life.
UNCHOSEN suffering taught me the ultimate lesson. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want it. I didn’t chase it. It just happened. Shit just happens. When shit happens we respond. The pain was so deep, so acute, so sharp, so relentless that I longed for help. I needed answers. I needed something to remove the pain. I needed Truth. Truth can only be found when we deeply hunger for it. When it is chased with such purpose that it removes all the imperfections and excuses in our thinking. It strips us to our core thus allowing us to see the naked truth. I went there. I lived there. I suffered there. Pain was the catalyst. A pain that I couldn’t make go away. A pain that is indescribable. On the tail end of my pain was GOD. HE revealed HIMSELF to me. Not because I needed HIM to but because HE is who HE is.”
Slow down and reflect, my friend. God, help me sit in unchosen suffering. God, help me tap into your strength. God, help me humbly submit. God, help me…