Originally posted on Facebook–September, 2009

A dove spreads its wings and flies against a backdrop of colors courtesy of a rainbow; a buoyant breeze guiding our winged friend across peaceful skies. It is a beauty visible though unattainable, past our physical reach. Unfortunately, we live in a world susceptible to floods. These floods subside, but leave pain, suffering, and mourning as remnants of its prior presence…

Pain often fills the cup of the soul. There is no way that we can avoid pain and suffering. It is the insatiable evidence of our world’s brokenness. But just like floods that overwhelm all in its path, pain and suffering will eventually subside. When that time comes, with what do we replace it?

While possible, it is unlikely—as much as we may wish to argue otherwise—that our soul is ever completely consumed in any one particular state of emotional being or feeling; including pain and suffering. Rather, it fluctuates as we respond to the blessings and challenges presented to us in life. Our choices are often synonymous with our responses.

If we view our soul as a cup, or if you wish your soul to be more ornate, a chalice; sustenance is provided to us within it. We attempt to quench our thirsts in life with what our cup embraces. And as our soul goes, there seems only a few ways to fill it: The options being Pain, Hate, Numbness, or Love. Sometimes—it is true—life fills our cup for us with disappointment, dismay, defeat, and all other forms of anguish—all these falling within the previously mentioned category of pain and suffering. But once we endure our bitter medicine, struggle through the pain and suffering; again the question: With what will we choose to fill our cup (or chalice)?

Do we replace our pain with Hate? Does the pain lead us to respond in anger to its existence? To conquer our pain and suffering, do we blame someone or something; attributing all of what we have endured to that person or thing? Are we ever so bold, to retaliate towards that person or thing, using that same catalyst of pain and suffering to satisfy a need for vengeance? What if we placed the blame on God? Consider such implications…

Or maybe we adopt the perception that there is safety in not feeling at all. We shut down. We allow ourselves to become the walking dead. A sense of loss becomes embedded into our pain and suffering, overwhelming our emotions. We become afraid to love, unable to place our trust in anyone or anything, absent of faith. Too tired to fight a battle with a world which we accept as dysfunctional, we permit our days to blur together into an incoherent, emotional shade of gray. Rather than place blame on God, we question whether God even exists…

Then too, we could accept pain and suffering as a fact of life—making it no easier to endure—but seizing the opportunity to love anew. Love is not forgetting the pain and suffering, but finding a way to accept it, and move past it. Maybe it requires forgiveness. Moreover, it could require opening our minds and our hearts to a new direction. It is true that we can misplace our love, and fall upon idols that quietly take control of our life—sometimes, not so quietly. Though, if the love we choose to fill our cups (or chalices) is the genuine article, we will be capable of holding onto it through even our greatest moments of pain and suffering, being better for it. Such love is offered by God, and only provided to those that accept it from Him…

And while our souls may be cups or chalices, they are not of the “sippie” variety. There is no lid. These cups (or chalices) are designed to overflow…The Maker of these cups (or chalices) desires for them to be visible—noticeable, if you will. Perhaps, it is why He made them as He did, for what is more noticeable than a cup overflowing?

An overflowing cup draws attention as it impacts the place it occupies, permeating the environment in which it resides. So how do we wish for our cup (or chalice) to impact our environment?

Do we allow our environment to decay from the rot of hate, mold through a numbing, avoidant indifference, or blossom through the life-giving waters of love?

And with such options, why do many of us, based on our responses, find it difficult to choose what appears to be the easy choice?

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