So often we frantically seek for an explanation to our suffering, to the things in our own life and in the world that make no sense to us. We often seek that explanation, or should I say, “demand” that explanation from God.

I don’t know about you, but no matter my endless beseeching of God for answers, they are rare in coming and often less than comforting when they are heard and/or understood.

I continue to believe there is something profound and unique to which we are called as women in suffering. It’s not that we are to be martyrs – just suffering because we must, or worse, because we choose to allow such. Rather, there is something beautiful and intimate that occurs in the midst of suffering – in relationship with God.

What if, rather than seeking an escape from suffering, we came to anticipate God’s whisper; God’s desire to offer intimacy, kindness, and care?

Offand on I’ve been reading a book called Women and the Value of Suffering by Kristine M. Rankka. She ends the book with a stunning poem by Anne Sexton saying that in it suffering is acknowledged, but with no attempt to justify or explain it.

The Rowing Endeth
I’m mooring my rowboat
at the dock of the island called God.
This dock is made in the shape of a fish
and there are many boats moored
at many different docks.
“It’s okay,” I say to myself,
with blisters that broke and healed
and broke and healed –
saving themselves over and over.
And salt sticking to my face and arms like
a glue-skin pocked with grains of tapioca.
I empty myself from my wooden boat
and onto the flesh of The Island.
“On with it!” He says and thus
we squat on the rocks by the sea
and play- can it be true –
a game of poker.
He calls me.
I win because I hold a royal straight flush.
He wins because He holds five aces.
A wild card had been announced
but I had not heard it
being in such a state of awe
when He took out the cards and dealt.
As He plunks down His five aces
and I sit grinning at my royal flush,
He starts to laugh,
the laughter rolling like a hoop out of His mouth
and into mine,
and such laughter that He doubles right over me
laughing a Rejoice-Chorus at our two triumphs.
The I laugh, the fishy dock laughs
the sea laughs. The Island laughs.
The Absurd laughs.
Dearest dealer,
I with my royal straight flush,
love you so for your wild card,
that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha
and lucky love.

If this is even remotely possible: the experience of playing poker with God, of hearing God’s laughter, of coming to love the wild card, of being loved like this, count me in! ‘Not that I can do anything about the suffering that has or will yet come; but I can hope for the grace and winsomeness to hear God’s invitation to play cards in the midst.

Ready to deal?