The hidden side of stories

We will never fully understand the mystery of pain and suffering. Because it is a mystery, it terrifies us, questions us, scandalises us… to the point of making us deny God’s goodness and even blaspheme his holy name. We need ways of approaching this mystery in order to digest it without gagging. That is what a story achieves, good fiction, which is not a lie, but the creation of characters that condense in themselves something common to all people and teach us to enter into the deepest depths. This is what a short story by K. Gibran achieves, which is much more than a simple tale. It is the story of “the two oysters”.

An oyster complained to its neighbour:

I feel a great pain. It is a strong and heavy pain, as if it were round. Don’t you feel anything?

With ill-concealed smugness, the other oyster replied:

Oh, I don’t feel any pain. And I take care of myself, you know, and that’s no doubt the reason why I feel so wonderfully well, inside and out.

And she repeated, very satisfied and full of herself:

I take care of myself, you know?

At that moment a crab was passing by and said to the self-sufficient oyster:

You take care of yourself and you don’t suffer, it’s true. But what you don’t know is that the pain your companion feels is a precious pearl inside her.

Would we have pearls without a mother oyster? We all have to learn to wait, to wait responsibly… In pain, right there, unnoticed, buried, like a seed… right there is hidden joy, peace… God! Because “if the grain of wheat does not die…” Mystery! Only that which dies can be born… only the oyster that suffers can become a mother… Only the person who understands suffering and waiting can become fully human and fruitful.

Someone managed to understand this through a personal experience. She had been suffering from severe lumbago pain for some time. One day he dared to ask the Lord to take it away. For many days he continued to plead with Him. But at one point he said, “I ask nothing of you, Lord. The lumbago hurts me, and you know how much. But this lumbago may be doing me an immense good: it makes me poor and helpless before You every day… So? Then I abandon myself into your hands, Lord. You know better than I do where my true good lies“.

If we look at it this way, from God’s point of view, all our sufferings have a meaning because… they are the seed of resurrection! But before we understand it with our little human brain, everything becomes obscure and mysterious. Things are difficult before they are easy. We must dare to hope and trust.

 

Juan Carlos cmf

(PHOTO: Dagmara Dombrovska)

 

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