The Fellowship of Christ’s Sufferings as Reflected in Lear and Life

As I have worked with students in creative writing over the twenty-five years of my teaching at Brigham Young University, I have often noted how the angst of young adult years is reflected in their writing. They write of their broken romances, their dysfunctional homes, their roommate agonies, their loneliness, and the stress of classroom deadlines. I understand the intensity of their feelings, just as I understand the agonies of my own children—and now grandchildren—who have suffered through false friends, lost homework, school pressure, childhood illnesses, and broken limbs. I have been there. I remember. At the other end of life’s experiences, I have observed the increase of pain and suffering as loved ones age and experience health problems and death with its devastating ripple effect on survivors. I have been there, too. I understand. Although some adversity may be self-inflicted by foolish behavior, much suffering comes regardless of anything we have done. No matter our age or situation, we will experience suffering in this life. It can be physical suffering, or it can be mental or emotional suffering—or both at once. But suffering is a necessary part of the human experience.

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