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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Suffering Well

The comment came at the end of one of our Monday visits.  We had just had dinner together in the patio outside the nursing home, and the remains of the meal were waiting on a tray to be taken away by a caregiver-----forlorn remnants of  the kind of meal that is meant to serve a crowd, I think it was spaghetti and bread sticks that night, with iceberg lettuce and a small bowl of canned fruit for dessert.    I have found over the long months that there is wisdom in sharing the kind of food he eats there, entering his reality,  tasting what he tastes.   During the first months of the stroke, I often brought food from home, hoping it would be an encouragement.  Instead, I find that my attention is more valuable, and my ability to be grateful for what is set before us. 

"Next time you see Troy" Stu said, "tell him I'm suffering well"


I knew why he said it, and it brought both a smile and a lump in my throat at the same time.

I had to wait two weeks before I saw Troy.  I knew it was a face-to-face kind of message, and I knew I'd see him sooner rather than later.

I saw Troy today at the store where we both shop for supplies.  Troy also is in the food business, and as soon as I caught sight of him coming out of the large walk-in coolers, I blurted out : "Hey, I have a message for you from Stu!   He wanted me to tell you he's suffering well."

Troy's face lit up like a sunrise  "Oh, wow!.......You just made my day!   Wow, that really brings back those conversations we used to have after church......we would just sit side by side and shake our heads at the condition of the world, our own condition, all of it, and we would lament.  And then Stu would say we need to suffer well."

"I know, Troy----he would tell me about it as we drove home.  Those were special times"

"Wow, leave it to Stu........"  I knew what Troy meant-----that poetic way of bringing our thoughts back to the best of what was, and is, and is to come----mixed with a dollop of the Hebrew flair for paradox and mystery.   It's the best of Stu, that poetry.  It's good to see it in action.

Friends, I think Stu would be happy to know that I'm sharing this thought with you, and I hope you will be inspired to join him in, indeed, suffering well.

Until next time



  1. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4 NIV

  2. He did it.....,and......, he finished the race!