People like to talk about “being positive,” even in the midst of terrible suffering. Not only when speaking about people who are suffering, but even when talking about themselves.
When people get a cancer diagnosis they seem to feel guilty about any “negative” feelings and insist on remaining “positive.” We are uncomfortable with suffering. We don’t know how to do it. At all. And we don’t know how to stand with someone else in their suffering. We just want everyone to be “happy.” But suffering is a huge part of life. Tragedy happens all day, everyday.
This is why I am Catholic. My faith allows me to suffer, to cry out in that suffering, to be angry — even at God — and to still have joy in my life in Christ. My joy isn’t about feeling good, it is about knowing that the One I follow has been where I am now, even in suffering.
When I spill my guts, it is me crying out in the darkness because I know He will hear me and save me. He can’t hear me if I insist on shoving my feelings down and putting on a mask of positivity. For me personally, that is what it would be, a mask. That’s not so for everyone. Some people are graced with a naturally positive attitude. I am just not one of them. And far fewer people are than feel they must pretend to be.
Truth is my only option. Our only option. Even if it’s uncomfortable grief and suffering.
Leticia Ochoa Adams is a writer living in Texas. Her website is Leticia Ochoa Adams. Her previous article for Hour of Our Death is This is Catholicism. You See It When People Die. Her other articles can be found here.