There is a great poem by the Persian Mystic, Rumi about a suffering Chickpea.
Reading it always helps me when the pain of life seems to outweigh my ability to cope.
In the poem the chickpea is being boiled alive in a pot.
In a bid to escape he leaps almost over the rim.
“Why are you doing this to me?” He asks the Cook.
The Cook knocks him down with the ladle.
“Don’t you try to jump out. You think I’m torturing you. I’m not torturing you. I’m giving you flavour, so you can mix with spices and rice.”
The chickpea – realising the divine purpose of his pain – says to the Cook,
“Boil me some more. Hit me with your skimming spoon. I can’t do this by myself.”
When I am suffering, when I am experiencing (seemingly) relentless and senseless pain and sorrow and grief in my life, I am always reminded by Power and Truth Rumi’s beautiful allegory.
From my experience, God only breaks down those He wishes to build, and He never burns unless there is healing intended.
I believe we are destined for Greatness.
Perhaps our suffering might be the very doorway to this kingdom.
Not just because we experience torment.
Every soul has its season of ill.
Rather it’s because, like the chickpea, we are able to accept our suffering and harvest spiritual flavour from our pain.
And (if we are really brave) use the elixir of that torment to guide, to help and perhaps to save others.
That really does take massive courage.
And if this is your dharma, and you can follow it, you have my greatest admiration.