The ordeal, a painful springboard to the future

No one is spared from hardship. How to cross them in the best possible way? Where to find help ? Analyzes and testimonials.

Counselor in helping relations and speaker, Isabelle d'Aspremont-Lynden has experienced several losses that have led her to reflect on the issue of bereavement. Author of several books, including Excuse me, I am in mourning (ed. Novalis), she gives invaluable encouragement to women who are going through the ordeal.

Faced with the trials of life, a human reflex is often to accuse God. Why ?

It comes from the need to find a culprit, a responsible. It can be God, or life, or caregivers. Instead of looking for the solution inside, we look for it outside. But other people choose another approach, seeking to know what God wants to teach them, what he has to reveal to them. An uncle told me: "If you are going through this ordeal, it is because God thinks that you are strong enough for that". It revolted me. I didn't want such a God.

Some trials are the result of personal choice. So how do you deal with the guilt?

Guilt is a feminine tendency: women will question themselves, while men will rather react with anger. If our responsibility is engaged, we can make reparation by action. But the guilt must not take an obsessive form. Blaming yourself for everything, including what you are not guilty of, can lead to depression. As guilt is the continuation of anger, it is also necessary to express it by finding an outlet, for example in writing or in sports. If we refuse this emotion, it will crystallize inside us and have psychosomatic effects such as tensions or illnesses.

What are the assets of the Christian to approach a trial?

On the one hand, the Christian believes in the resurrection, in life after death, which is a precious comfort. On the other hand, she knows that she is welcomed by God, carried by his presence, even if it is not felt. I love this story of footsteps on the sand. A man dreams that he is walking with God on the beach. At the end of his life, he turns around and realizes that, in the most difficult times, there is only one footprint. He then asks God why he abandoned him when he needed him the most. God answers him: When you only see a footprint, it is because I was carrying you in my arms. This story has helped me, and it is also the experience that I have lived personally.

Many biblical figures have faced the ordeal. What can we learn from their experience?

All these biblical figures turned to God and expressed their feelings, even their anger, to him. We have the right to get angry with God. Anger is not like hatred or resentment: once expressed, it vanishes. When we go through a trial, we also enter into a kind of patience and we can discover our mission in life, feel called to help others or the community.

Take the example of Jonah: he runs away from where he should go, he is thrown into the sea, swallowed by a big fish, thrown back on the beach, but he ends up accomplishing his mission. It is as if, somewhere, there is something in our soul that holds us. Even if we are not looking for her mission, it is she who is looking for us.

We sometimes hear people say: What does not kill makes you stronger. Do you agree with this maxim? With hindsight, does the ordeal make us better able to differentiate the essential from the superfluous?

Yes, this maxim is true, but it is not something to say to a person going through grief! I see to what extent my trials have made me more mature, transformed my values ​​and made me rediscover a spirituality. So, yes, I can say that I grew up.

To accept to go through your sufferings is to find the emergence of life. We come out different. If we manage to take advantage of our ordeal, we can acquire a better knowledge of ourselves, better understand the suffering of others, take a new professional or family path, resume studies, engage in volunteering ... The loser is the one which comes to a standstill. Life can only be a continuous resurrection in the face of trials.

S. Roulet

Find more articles on spiritual, the magazine that brings together Christian women from the French-speaking world. 

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