Suffering And Compassion Essay

2095 words - 9 pages

Suffering and Compassion

No one anticipates whether something good or something bad will happen to them. People hope to find the answers to these questions and to relinquish their heart ache that has been given to them, so people look for answers where they cannot be found. Some believe that it is a simple act of nature, luck, and even the power of God that causes pain even though the reason of these occurrences that happen to us cannot be known. When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a book in which the author Harold S. Kushner asks the question: why God? When his son is diagnosed with a degenerative disease Kushner cannot understand why such an act of pain is happening to him and his ...view middle of the document...

Considering that we may never know the source of the pain we feel, one may be able to find comfort in another human being. However, “Who can take away suffering without entering it” (Nouwen 1990, 72) is a question that comes from the short story “Ministry to a Hopeless Man.” In this story, the reader encounters John, a young man in theological studies who was trying to guide Mr. Harrison, a patient who is suffering, to his next stage in life. Throughout the story readers listen to Mr. Harrison express his concern about his health, as well as how he has nothing, but his crops to go back to. During the time of Mr. Harrison’s fragile health, John is presumed to be his support, the person that a patient can confined in. “A word of support, forgiving embrace, a firm hand, a tender smile, or even a stuttering confession of inability to do more” (Nouwen 1990, 71) is what John needed to be in Harrison’s time of adversity. One has to keep in mind that Mr. Harrison is still human. Although, he has no other being to express his feelings, to that does not take way from his lack of ability to feel a sense of loneliness. When reading the story one hears the patient refer to the doctors and nurses of the hospital as “they.” “They got me drugged, took me up there. They decided they better not try it then. They brought me back down here” (Nouwen 1990, 56). One can see the detached emotion Mr. Harrison has for the people who are now in control of his life. He does not even know the name of the person who is trying to end his suffering; all he can do is hope that once his operation is over he will be able to work once again when harvesting time has arrived. His human spirit only knows his experience: he knows that he has no one to return to, to comfort in, or to be happy with after his operation has ended. The bitter truth is that Mr. Harrison had no notion altogether of how to be happy, live happily, or even live. All this patient knows is his crops, and that he wants to die naturally. It is John’s purpose to reassure Mr. Harrison that he will be the one waiting for him to return from his surgery, that everything will go well, and that he will be able to return to his crops.
“At the End, Offering Not a Cure, but Comfort,” is an article from The New York Times that tells the readers of another relationship between the doctor and the patient. Here we are introduced to Dr. Sean O’Mahony and Mrs. Debbie Migliore. Dr. Sean O’Mahony is a doctor that is good at giving bad news. These doctors are known as the tour guides on the road to death, or palliative specialists who have made their life’s work all about death. On the other hand, Mrs. Debbie Migliore is a 51- year old former topless dancer and cocktail waitress whose health is disintegrating. While reading the article, one comes to find that Mrs. Migliore has had a history of bad health: two strokes, developing autoimmune disorder and lung cancer. These soon led to neuroendocrine cancer joining her list, and...

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