Just finished reading the book Lament for a son. In fact, I had actually skimmed over A grief observed by C. S. Lewis a while back and was looking for similar accounts of people living through a loss of some form. I guess, after seeing my pet bunny die a week ago, I was simply looking for some insights on how to deal with the situation. Even though he had only been with me for less than 6 months, my heart ached seeing him take his last breaths in my arms…
Lament for a son was written by a father who had lost his son in a mountain-climbing accident; he was only 25 at the time. This book contained thoughts as the father tried to deal with his internal turmoil, trying the best he could to resolve the apparent contradictions between his faith and the pain of losing his son before his life had started properly. Why does God allow such suffering? All the things left undone, unsaid. Reading the words, one cannot help but feel the anguish and pain of a father, but, towards the end, also hopes of a new beginning.
While reading, I was intrigued that the author, a devout Christian, essentially came to a similar conclusion as what many budhists take for granted*.
“We are one in suffering. Some are wealthy, some bright; some athletic, some admire. But we all suffer. For we all prize and love… Suffering is for the loving. If I hadn’t loved him, there wouldn’t be this agony.
…In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.”
Perhaps, it is only though deaths (or similar tragic/traumatic incidents) will we have our faiths challenged, and maybe transcend ourselves – otherwise, as the author put it, the death was all for “nothing”.
* Although Christianity and Budhism diverge in how they treat this conclusion. Budha talked about escaping from the endless cycle of suffering…