Saturday, January 26, 2013

Perspectives on Suffering

I remember a book from my childhood about a man who was having trouble sleeping--I don't remember the name of the book.  There was a tapping on his window from a tree and a leaky faucet.  He went to the judge and told him he was having trouble sleeping, and the judge told him to get a cat.  That night, the man heard the taps and drips and the cat meowing and moving around on the bed.  

He went to the judge and said that he still couldn't sleep.  The judge told him to get a dog.  Of course, then the man had a dog and cat making noise and moving around in addition to the tapping and dripping sound.  The story continues with the judge recommending that this man fill his bed with a cat, a dog, a cow, a horse, and I don't remember how many other animals.

The man goes back to the judge, desperate, and tells him: "I still can't sleep!  Now there's mooing, neighing, barking, meowing, tapping, and dripping!"  And the judge says: "Get rid of the cat, the dog, the cow, the horse, and all the other animals."  And the man gets blissful sleep.

I feel a little bit like the man in that story--before getting rid of the animals.  I had sleep troubles in Philadelphia, where there would be sounds of car engines, occasional loud music from cars in the block behind us, a very occasional block party that lasted until 11:00, or an occasional dog left outside at night or overnight.

Now I live in the Dominican Republic, where each night there are roosters crowing, dogs barking (dogs live outside, it's warm and theft is a huge problem here), and my neighbor's unbelievably loud house alarm going off in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, I feel like I've jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.  I can only hope that things for me will end as they did for the man in the story.

This morning, after the house alarm woke me up at both 1:30 and 3:30 during the night and I didn't sleep much at all (after a week of interrupted sleep from the house alarm across the street), I was feeling a little low.  I must admit that I don't often listen to sermons, but in my discouraged state I thought it would be a good idea.  I found a sermon on suffering by Tim Keller to listen to while I made granola--Tim Keller being my favorite preacher both because he has such great insight and because he doesn't have a "preacher's voice."  

The sermon was really powerful and addressed a more profound suffering than I'm experiencing.  I found it really moving, though, and felt very encouraged.  I wanted to share it, in case anyone's interested:

(You have to click on the sermon with this name when you get to the webpage of free sermons related to suffering.)

No comments:

Post a Comment