Wisdom from Suffering

Amber Lyles Humanities HNS Period 9th 18 September 2011 Wisdom From Suffering “Suffering is the price of being alive. ”; “make use of suffering. ” These straight forward quotes sourced from the thoughts of Judy Collins and Henri-Frederic Amiel are produced from different origins but compatible. Collins’s is stemmed from the idea that suffering cannot be avoided and Amiel’s is from his philosophy of the art of living. Most people try to deny and avoid the path of suffering. Yet, they often fail to realize that no matter how many detours they take around suffering, the construction of it is still going to be there.

Might even relocate closer to them where they are forced to really deal with it. In Sophocles play Oedipus Rex, Oedipus, the king of Thebes suffering comes from personal and criminal revelations. Somewhat similar but not nearly as extreme is and/or was the origin of my suffering. Good thing is that, people gain wisdom from suffering through growth and acceptance. Being king is hard, title alone comes with high prestige and expectations. Oedipus was put on a pedestal by the citizens of Thebes like he was their God. That was their biggest mistake.

So when the land of Thebes is plagued by disease and death, Oedipus pleas that “I know that you are deathly sick; and yet, sick as you are, not one is sick as I. Each of you suffers in himself alone his anguish, not another’s; but my spirit groans for the city, for myself, for you. ” Oedipus not only wants the city to know that he suffers with them but that he suffers substantially because his suffering not only includes himself. Now not saying that what was said wasn’t sincere, just the fact that he knew of how they saw him put pressure on him to over exaggerate a little to make a point that he cared.

His greatest suffering came through the process of finding out who killed King Laius; a king before him, whose death was believe to have brought the plague. During that process Oedipus was told by Teiresias, a blind prophet, “…. you are the murderer you seek. ” Of course Oedipus dismissed the statement; cursed the prophet and his words. Not only was Oedipus being the murderer revealed, but the fact that he was a Theban; born to Iokaste who is his current wife and mother of his kids. That means that he married and had kids with his own mother.

From that moment on Oedipus is confused, enraged and accuses Kreon bringing Teiresias to him to as a way to try and his throne. The suffering of the city of Thebes caused by the plague-wind brought about by a way of the death of King Laius leads to the wisdom brought about by Teiresias. The knowledge that Oedipus gains is that he killed his father, married and had kids with his own mother. Oedipus brought about his own doom and “served his own destruction“; in the words of Kreon. Anyhow, I’d like to share my own story.

I was born in Chicago on March 4, 1994 to Brenda Yarbrough and Marvin Lyles. Well that’s what I’d thought. Found out when I was 8 or 9 that Marvin Lyles wasn’t my father and that my real dad wanted nothing to do with me. I blamed my mother for a lot a lot of things, which I’ve felt bad for because she’s had enough to deal with. Stage 4 cancer survivor, only has one kidney, has had heart attack, high blood pressure, single parent mother for me and my two brothers most of her life, list goes on and on. She doesn’t need me to make her feel guilty.

In 2002, we moved to Aurora because my mom had met this man and got married. I wasn’t to happy about leaving Chicago and family but the idea of having a “father” and sister appealed to me and made the situation more comfortable. Well that marriage started off good then a lot stuff happened and it all went downhill. The marriage really produced a lot of trust issues and fears that I have today. They got divorced and from then on it’s mainly been me and my mom. To return to the topic, my biggest suffering I would have to say stems from the situation with my father.

I’ve been in some dark places even to the point where I didn’t want to live. Just felt unwanted, that something was wrong with me that my own father didn’t want me and that I was just a burden to my mom. The knowledge I’ve gained is that life is precious, I’m not a mistake, it’s not my fault, just his lost and that my mother is and has done the absolute best she can/could; she’s my greatest motivation. I’ve just had to grow and mature quicker, stay strong and accept things that I can’t control.

On to Oedipus situation , don’t think that he should do it again. Fate is fate, it was suppose to happen. He probably could’ve handled the Teiresias situation differently and been more mannered. Then again Oedipus would’ve probably had to figure it out the truth by himself, instead of forcing it out of Teiresias. That probably would’ve took forever and the people in the city would’ve suffered more. So, either way would produce the same outcome of wisdom for Oedipus, just a difference in time, the amount of suffering and when death would come.

It’s like having the option of the death penalty or life in prison; person knows they’re going to die either way just a matter of time. Oedipus brought his tragedy upon himself; even though he seemed ignorant to fact until the end. He killed his father, married and had kids with his mother and had to reap the repercussions of his own decree. That was meant to happen. The reason why, unknown, but someone could’ve found light in it and shouldn’t be revised. Next, is the question of , why or why not would I do my situation with suffering over again?

I honestly can’t say that I would. Reason being is, because as I look back over my life; from being homeless, crying myself to sleep at night, struggling with the situation with my dad, feeling alone, jail visits, health scares to the littlest lie have all help me grow and learn. The greatest thing I’ve learned through my suffering though, is the importance of my momma. I appreciate her so much for the sacrifices she has made and her strength. Our life isn’t the best, but we have each other. She cries, I cry, she hurts, I hurt, when she’s happy is when I’m the happiest.

That’s why I strive to stay focused in school and do the right thing because I know that what she has been through when she was younger is what she doesn’t want me to experience. She’s is the just best friend/mother/father I just don’t know where I would be without her. I still have my underlying issues and occasional problems but now I know that I’m going to be okay. Can’t change the fact that my real dad doesn’t want me, but I can change how I handle it. Yes it hurts, but as long as I got God, my momma, family and those that care truly care for me in my corner; can fight anything.

All in all, people gain wisdom through growth and acceptance. Oedipus gained wisdom through knowledge that the suffering of his city was the result of a plague-wind brought about by his killing of king Laius. In the process leading to his own suffering with the revelations that her was the murderer that he sought after and that he married and had kids with his very own mother. The wisdom that that I gained through my suffering stemming from the situation with my father is that I’m not a mistake, have to accept that it’s out of my control, his loss, and that my life is to precious to consider taking.

I continue to progress and Oedipus is dead. Revisiting the words of Judy Collins and Henri-Frederic Amiel, “Suffering is the price of being alive. ”; “make use of suffering. ” Everybody experience suffering; whether brought about themselves, by circumstance or environment. Suffering is apart of life and the art of living is to make use of it to gain wisdom. People should just accept it, there’s no shortcut; just drive through it and learn. Suffering is everywhere. If a person doesn’t agree, dare them to just look around, listen to the news and tune in to reality.

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