Treasured Sorrows: Our Teachers of Hope

During mass I often gaze at the crucifix.  When I do, I often feel both sorrow and hopeful.  My heart aches at what Jesus went through, and at the same time, I know I am gazing at a sign of hope, God’s ability to overcome anything, even death.

This week, I want to offer you a bit of wisdom that one of my spiritual directors offered me: the gift of a treasured sorrow. A treasured sorrow is a life experience that held both grief and joy. It included pain, challenges, hurt, loss, or grief; yet as we look back on it, we also treasure the experience we went through because of what we learned and who we became in the process. While the experience was a beast to live through, we know the growth we experienced, the reliance on God we now have, and the new awareness we have about ourselves—awareness we wouldn’t have had we not gone through that hard experience.  The crucifix to me a sign of a treasured sorrow, which to me, is also a teacher of hope.

There are a handful of events in my life I can now name as treasured sorrows. While I would rather not relive those moments of loss and pain, I know that they changed me in a profound way, and so I treasure the lessons I learned.

Because of my treasured sorrows, I am more aware of what others experience. The utter dependency on God during these times grew strong roots of faith that still strengthen me today. I cherish the people I met and the relationships that deepened as we walked the experience together. I am thankful for the people who helped nurture hope within me.  I know that the tools of my faith offer support and guidance because I leaned on them as I walked the challenging journey.

Our treasured sorrows are our wise teachers, much as Jesus’ treasured sorrow taught the world about walking through suffering in hope. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can sift through our experiences and name the sorrows and the treasures. Then, as Ignatian spirituality teaches us, we can offer these experiences to God to be transformed and used by God for the good of others.

What might some of your treasured sorrows be?

adapted from Busy Lives & Restless Souls; to purchase your signed copy click here.  

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