This Lent was a unique six weeks. I've encountered more people facing struggles than I tend to hear about in a typical six week time. I've heard everything on the spectrum from struggles to suffering. Physical or emotional; physical and emotional. There are many people walking around amongst us, facing either private or public passions of their own.
At the same time, I've been inspired by the way people continue in hope. I'd be willing to bet that the people who have shared their stories with me don't feel very heroic, but that's how I see them. One acquaintance shared how she feels she's painting on a smile that simply doesn't exist interiorly, yet what I see when I look at her is how heroic it is that she is still giving to her family and her community, in spite of her struggles. A different friend injured herself, but she explained to me how she's choosing to see her pain as a gift, thereby teaching me a lesson about my own crosses in life. As for others, all I can say is that I've experienced some low lows in life and I know how hard simple actions can be -- they are heroic for getting in a shower or making the effort to eat lunch. I say that in all sincerity.
Isn't that what this is all about? Death isn't really death. Things are not what they seem. We know that God makes things new again. The reason the people I am praying for just now have hope is because of something much deeper than a plucky, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook. It's the belief that Good Friday becomes Easter.
The prayer I pray for those who shared a part of themselves with me this Lent is from the writings of St. Teresa of Avila. I pray it, too, for those I read about around the world who are going through very real sufferings.
May our Lord give you eternal happiness and rest because for some time now you have given up happiness and rest in this life, though you do not yet appreciate the value of suffering. The day will come when you will understand what you have gained and that for nothing in the world should you ever want to lose it.
St. Teresa of Avila
The Collected Letters, Volume One