June 27, 2013 by Jen Cudmore
Murray Pura is a best-selling author of multiple titles. For more information, visit his website www.murraypura.com
When I do research for historical fiction one of the first things that strikes me is how much everyone has suffered down through the ages. That we no sooner cure the world’s ills – like leprosy or TB or polio or the Black Death – only to have other ills take their place – lung cancer, obesity, dementia – or see the old ills return with a vengeance. Wars have not lessened, or rape, or violent crimes, or the death of children by the dozens, the hundreds, and the millions. Always leaving in their wake those who experience the loss and who grieve. And many who find the strength to get up and keep going and not only keep going but do great things, important things, powerful things, things that bless.
Not everyone can get up again and do that. For some the suffering is so great they simply shut down. They may go through the motions for the next 10 or 20 or 30 years but they’re not really there anymore. They expect nothing, hope for nothing, believe in nothing. Life is over.
For others, most I would guess, the energy returns, the focus returns, they carry on with their lives, even if they still bleed a little inside every day for the rest of their lives. They do good things for their family and friends, even for strangers, do good work at the office or store or company, and are good and kind to their neighbors.
Then there is the touched life, the truly touched life. I find them in my research now and then. I see them in the world around me now and then. People whose hearts and souls have been absolutely flattened, who have lost pretty much all there is to lose without losing their own lives, people you’d expect to lie down and never get up again or to wander off and never be seen again. Yet somehow a miracle happens – not only do they recover, not only do they get back to blessing family and friends and neighbors, they go farther than they ever have before because of what they’ve suffered, not in spite of it. They turn their suffering into heroic acts, they turn it into enormous courage, they create great films, great books, great music, great legislation, great inventions. They will tell you their suffering showed them the way, opened the door, motivated them, inspired them, challenged them, fired them up to change a broken world.
It is always moving and astounding when I uncover these lives. Sometimes their stories are well known, other times no one has ever heard of them before. It doesn’t matter because once a decent writer gets their hands on the material they can give the story to the world and by so doing breathe new life into millions.
I call it a touched life. A miraculous life. Touched by God and angels even if some of them might not believe in God and angels. To overcome suffering and loss and devastation is one thing. To become much more than you ever were before, to be made anew and made better by that suffering and loss and devastation is something else again. I wish for more such lives for the world around us. The suffering will always be there. I pray the touched lives may always be there as well.
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