pain and praise


        27/366 - Great-Grandma Graber's cream and sugar set

"As one sister said to me, "Women seem to have trouble drawing the line between what is passive acceptance of suffering and what can transform it."  This is the danger that lies hidden in Emily Dickinson's insight that "Pain--is missed--in Praise": that we will try to jump too quickly from one to the other, omitting the necessary but treacherous journey in between, sentimentalizing both pain and praise in the process. 

The sister, speaking of the women she counsels - displaced homemakers, abused wives, women returning to college after years away - says, "It doesn't help that the church has such a lously track record here.  We've said all these crappy things to people, especially to women: 'Offer it up,' or 'Suffering will make you strong.' Jesus doesn't say these things.  He says, 'This will cost you.'"  

Kathleen Norris,  The Cloister Walk