What My Sister Taught Me

Recently my sister gave birth to her first child. I’ve always known that childbirth is a difficult and painful process, but never has it been very personal to me. This time was different.
When I went to go meet my tiny nephew the day after he was born, he seemed to be happy. He was absolutely adorable, and I got to enjoy falling in love with him as I snuggled him. However, when I saw my sister, I was amazed to see how exhausted she looked. I knew her labor had been long, but the mere description had not captured for me how drained she really wants. Seeing the burst blood vessels in my sister’s eyes, a clear sign that she had had to strain herself, made me feel like crying for a moment after I left her apartment.
Yet, even though going through the experience of labor had been so difficult for my sister (it was probably the most physically daunting thing that she had ever experienced), she did not regret having endured all those hours of hardship. She was just glad that, in the end, she had gotten to meet her baby. When I saw her holding and looking at her son, I knew she had absolutely no regrets.
I couldn’t help but think how much such an experience parallels life itself. We go through a lot of suffering down here on this planet. It can be dreadfully hard sometimes. Sometimes, we feel like we can’t keep on enduring. Yet what if what we are going through now is like the pains of childbirth?
I actually believe that it is. I believe we can be suffering in a direction, with a purpose, and like a woman in labor. We can end up seeing fruit that arises from what we suffer.
Certainly, sometimes that fruit is easily visible (“I learned to be strong so that I could support my friend when he went through something even worse;” “”I learned how to not be so focused on myself”). However, there is a much deeper layer to this. Some of what we suffer can have higher purposes that don’t even get to be revealed until we are in a much better place.
Speaking of a better place, people who lived long before us wrote that not only we, but also the world itself longs in the pains of childbirth for a day when everything is made right, and the world actually gets to be healed. These people tell us that such a day will come, and will be sheer delight. These are wonderful and mysterious promises, and they are for all who are willing to admit their personal weaknesses – their insufficiencies, even failures – and come to Jesus, who offers true healing. He is the one who can guarantee that my suffering gets to mean something, even if I don’t get to see that meaning right now. (See the ‘about’ section for further discussion.)
It would be a lot easier if every suffering on earth was like physical childbirth and had an immediate reward. Yet, it doesn’t work that way, does it? I still believe though that I will rejoice one day to see what my suffering was doing.


7 thoughts on “What My Sister Taught Me

  1. You are a good writer. This is worded nicely. Giving birth is painful, and life can be painful in itself too. The only difference is, giving birth comes with a reward, whereas while we are living we have to search/find our reward: Happiness? Marriage? Purpose?
    Very interesting.


    1. Thanks for your encouragement and comment. How I have answered the reward question has definitely been influenced by my (Christian) faith. I believe my suffering has been used to help me be a stronger, more compassionate, and hopefully better person, and that it has led me in the end to unexpected opportunities…and I believe there’s more reward from my suffering that I just can’t see yet (I believe my God can be using my suffering for purposes I just can’t see right now). Yeah, it’s a very interesting (and deep) topic 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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