Why do I choose a beautiful red rose dripping with fresh spring rain to write on ‘suffering’ the third step to heaven, when this beautiful rose conjures up thoughts of beauty, joy, and peace?

The rose is a reminder of beauty, as it is difficult for me to even see beauty around me when I am miserable. I remember watching the rose plant striving to grow through each stage into a hardy bush and develop thorns to protect itself from invaders. However, I saw aphids descend on the new growth as it developed buds. I tried concoctions to get rid of the aphids, but only burnt the leaves, so I waited, and the lady bugs descended on the aphids to rid the bush of the intruders. The flowers flourish and I am relieved. But I do remind myself that the petals will fall, so I take a photo.

Just like the rose our bodies suffer along with nature while living on earth. We are born, which is most uncomfortable for all of us. We have childhood colds, fevers, teething, cuts, and bruises and other more serious illnesses. As much as the child suffers, the parents suffer along with the child. It becomes a shared dilemma. We grow and realise suffering is all around us and we begin to feel others’ sufferings. We don’t like the suffering, and we choose ways to cope with the feelings. We can learn empathy for others who suffer, or we turn away from our feelings and learn to close ourselves off from suffering.

By the time we reach adulthood, major sufferings may happen to us or have already happened to us. We can be in a state of suffering for varying periods of time which will change us. We look around us and the earth and all its creatures seem to be suffering along-side us. Drought, floods, fires, heat and cold all seem to complete the circular pattern within our sufferings. We are pushed to ask Why? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why is it necessary? We conclude, ‘This is just life!’ and we set out to try our best to build our environments with protection against suffering. We adapt to our life, but suffering remains with us and it becomes our opening into our souls if we choose it to be. Deepest Gratitude and Love to all as we travel through our sufferings together to become our souls.  El Alma

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