• Sarah Raad


Those who go to Heaven begin their Heaven on Earth, while those who go to Hell begin their Hell on Earth. (C.S. Lewis, “The Big Divorce”).

The Last Judgment (Fra Angelico)

My husband suffers from motion-sickness. Ordinarily this motion sickness is not a serious problem, because if my husband does all the driving, he does not feel the effects of motion sickness. But at times, it is not possible to allow my husband to do the driving – think of an aeroplane or a cruise ship – my husband cannot drive those vehicles, and yet, when he is a passenger in them, he can feel quite miserably sick.

Many years ago, when we were first married, my husband and I went on an ocean cruise so that we could do some snorkelling. My husband became quite seasick on that cruise…

When he was feeling sick, he did some things to try to alleviate the symptoms of the motion sickness. He tried to remain abovedeck. Outside in the fresh air, the seasickness was easier for him to handle. And he actually jumped into the ocean and started swimming for a while, which also made him feel a lot better!

And I have been reflecting on this idea of motion sickness – or more particularly, seasickness – over the last few days as I reflect on the purpose of this Earthly life…

You see, though it can be painful, seasickness is only a little temporary glitch in what is very often a consequence of our journey to a very lovely holiday or experience! And in this way, seasickness is like suffering. You see, we often suffer in this earthly life, and just as seasickness is a part of a journey to get us to our holiday destination, that suffering serves a purpose in our journey on to Paradise… And in this way, seasickness is like the payment for the wonderful experience at the end of the journey, so too is suffering what we must endure to merit the rewards of eternal life.

And yet, just as we can do things to alleviate the seasickness during life, we can do things to alleviate our suffering during our earthly life… Just as we can stay above deck in the fresh air to feel better on a ship, we can pray to find comfort in talking to Our Blessed Lord when we suffer. And just as we can jump into the water to get off the ship and feel better when we are seasick, we can receive the sacraments to nourish us spiritually when we suffer.

You see, the Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, wrote in his allegory about Heaven and Hell, “The Big Divorce” that those who go to Heaven begin their Heaven on Earth, while those who go to Hell begin their Hell on Earth.

And I guess it simply comes down to perspective. The perspective we have about the suffering that we endure. If we can see merit for our purification in our suffering, then we can be at peace – and that is what Heaven is after all – INFINITE PEACE AND LOVE AND JOY, ETERNAL…

And because I can understand that after the seasickness comes the paradise, What reason could I possibly have to complain about that?

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

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