Calah Alexander has a beautiful post up– Suffering Comes Like a Walker– that meditates on the passage from Spe Salvi that I posted last week (The True Measure of Humanity). She goes from the walking dead to the question of suffering to Pope Benedict to thoughts about marriage and NFP and yes, back to suffering and the words of Spe Salvi thread their way through the blog post like the refrain of a song. It’s really a beautiful thing.
Walkers are not people. If they’re anything, they’re suffering on legs…slow, lumbering, moaning, snarling, sure as death and just as implacable, but also just as predictable. Once you know them you can be prepared, ward them off, protect yourself, and clear the room. Still, even the best of us can’t prepare for everything. They sometimes catch you off guard and someone you love ends up dead. Or you do. Suffering finds us all, in the end. It’s the human condition.
I’m never going to think about zombies the same way again: “suffering on legs.”
But I’m a convert from Evangelicalism. I chose the crucifix over a bare cross. I chose the suffering, but I also chose a whole worldwide church to suffer along with me. Forgive me my weakness, but I need them. I don’t have too many close friends here, but I do in the virtual church. I need to know that I am not alone, and so do they.
For me, too, this virtual church, this community of believers online has been necessary. And I’m so very happy to count Calah as one of my friends, even though we’ve never met face to face.
Sometimes it’s true that our suffering is brought on by our own sin. But not always. We do each other a disservice when we assume that suffering, in whatever form it takes, is a deserved consequence. We do ourselves a disservice when we assume that we can avoid the same fate through our own virtue.
The body of Christ does not exist so that one part can teach the rest how to avoid suffering. The hand cannot tell the knee, whose job it is to run, that it would not feel so much pain if only it would stop running. The hand can rub the knee and bring some consolation, though, even if only for a moment.
It is enough.
I hope we can all work to make the internet a place where we bring compassion and consolation to everyone we meet.