Beauty and Suffering

I suppose it’s appropriate for me to be posting this now, as I’m going through a little rough patch myself. It’s more spiritual analysis than I intended it to be, but there you go. So this is for everyone out there going through a tough time: whether it’s relationship problems, diet problems, school problems, mental illness, however great or small your suffering seems to be. Just remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and no matter how impossible it seems, you can reach it. 

If you follow Owl City, you probably know that among the songs he’s put out in the past few months is this one:


Beautiful Times. Don’t be fooled by the upbeat tune–this song is about suffering.

The sky is black and dark, and the singer doesn’t know when it will be light again. Then he sees even just the start of the sunrise, and rejoices that he’s still alive. He made it through, even though it was hard, and now he’s in wonderment at the beauty of life, “ecstatic like a drug addict / locked in the attic / strung out and spellbound” (sorry for the poetry notation, I’m just too used to line breaks).

And his fight isn’t over: he says “this fight of my life is so hard / so hard / so hard,” is, in the present. But, “I’m gonna survive / oh, oh, these are beautiful times.” Despite the fact that he is still receiving new scars on his heart, still having bad feelings, that his heart is “burning bad” and “turning black,” he has hope and believes he will make it through. Hope has rejuvenated him; the spark has returned to the lighthouse, the once-dead fire comes back to life.

Hope and faith have become his strength. Not merely positive feelings, but honest-to-goodness virtues of hope and faith. Feelings would never get him through, and he knows that because he knows that feelings are mutable and how even now he still feels bad. But he knows these bad feelings will pass, that “we all suffer / but we recover / just to discover / life where we all are.” That sometimes the best we can do is endure.

But how do I endure? What about when it gets too hard?

That is precisely when you must endure. Even if it just means lying there “strung out,” weeping piteously or heart palpitating or rage coursing through your veins or sitting up all night or feeling absolutely nothing. Getting the help you need, reaching out for others, and believing, having hope, that there is something more than suffering, that there is life.

And the life beyond the suffering?

Heaven. With God.

If you believe in God, you can endure even the impossible. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains. And God isn’t asking us to move mountains.

So if you can, try to find the beautiful times in your suffering. The fact that no matter what happens, you will endure. You will survive. You will make it, and God’s love is always there for you.

It’s kind of funny: once you realize that God loves you and that He will help you through your suffering with His grace and love, once you see that “this too shall pass,” you can appreciate the sufferings and joys of your life alike as beautiful times.

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