• Sarah Raad


The only thing that time does for us, is to provide us with the opportunity to become used to the pain of our loss so that its sharpness no longer winds us, but it merely wounds us instead…

Christ Crucified (Cristo Crucificado) (Diego Valazquez)

When I was in my final year of university, four of my sisters and I collected all the money we had saved up through all the odd jobs we had been working while we were at university, and we booked ourselves a budget-trip to Europe.

We were away in total for 6 weeks over Christmas and New Year and we saw over seventeen beautiful cities during those weeks while we were away…

That trip was the first time we had been away from home and from our parents and younger siblings and it was certainly the first time we celebrated Christmas without family – though we were lucky enough to attend the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Saint John Paul II.

To prepare for our trip the five of us – who ranged in age between 17 and 20 years – organised some traveller’s cheques, a video camera and a hand-held digital camera (yes… It was a very long time ago now and the world was a different place!). We then each purchased a sturdy waterproof jacket, a beanie, some gloves and finally a pair of solid walking boots.

The boots were a last-minute decision. You see originally a couple of my sisters were planning to wear their old and comfy sneakers on the trip, but at the last minute they were convinced to switch those old sneakers for the walking boots, which would handle the snow, sleet, and rain of a European winter much better than sneakers, which were not waterproof at all.

Now, those new boots were quite an expensive investment, but we reasoned that they would be worthwhile because they were of excellent quality and we would get a lot of wear out of them.

The only problem with those boots was that they were very very stiff, and because two of my sisters had wide feet those boots were actually a terrible terrible idea of them! After the very first few hours of walking on the very first day of the trip, both of those girls developed the most terrible blisters you could ever imagine all over their feet.

And over the last few days I have been reflecting a little on those blisters – after all, it was at about this time about twenty years ago that my sisters were dealing with those blisters on their poor feet…

You see, the thing about blisters is that they really hurt. In fact, as the blister is forming – through friction against the skin – there is quite a lot of pain and the pain is sharp and confronting. And that pain from the blister is like suffering. Just as it is with the initial pain of a blister, suffering too can be terrible overwhelming, especially at first!

It is even a bit like having a baby. When I was in labour with my first child, I found the pain completely overwhelming because I was frightened of the pain. By the time I was in labour with my second and then my third child, I was no longer afraid of the pain and was able to labour to deliver those children much more easily being able to bear the pain myself.

Years ago when I lost my little baby before he was even born I heard many useless cliches, the most useless of which was that “time heals all wounds”… What an utterly useless thing to say...

Time does not heal all wounds. Time does not even heal some of them! Many wounds NEVER heal in this world.

There is not a day that will pass in my earthly life where I will not mourn the loss of my child, who became a little saint before I was ready to send him to God. Time heals nothing.

Lucky for me, there is God! Because God and only God has the power to heal. And His healing comes when we exercise our Free Will to OFFER SUFFERING AS SACRIFICE… Because, then – and only then – is it possible to heal in Him who is Prince of Peace.

The only thing that time does for us, is to provide us with the opportunity to become used to the pain of our loss so that its sharpness no longer winds us, but it merely wounds us instead…

And that is just like a blister.

Because once the initial sharp pain of a blister wears away as the shoe moulds better to the foot and the skin of the foot becomes a little tougher and a little more prepared for the walking that must be done, the skin on the blistered part of the foot becomes better able to bear the shoe and that old spot of the blister will not blister in that shoe again.

And this is why I can thank God for my suffering, because if I sacrifice it to Him, I shall be able to bear that pain because Christ is sacrificing it with me. And that makes all the difference, because of myself I am nothing – but with my Beloved I can move mountains…

And that is the GIFT of faith!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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