Fierce Grace

By Erin Anderson
Posted in The Real Deal, on July 27, 2013

What does it take to overcome suffering? As I clumsily land back in my life of privilege after a service trip to Kenya I find myself wondering if I can even comprehend the depth of suffering that's out there. 

I have had many obstacles and have had to pull myself out of some dim situations. I've experienced loss, trauma and regret. Each time I go into the darkness I discover new territory. And each time I find my way through to the light I find I have new access to compassion and grace. My experience of suffering is embodied, I can feel it in me. If I'm lucky I can see it in others too. Whatever small insight I have I must share it with others, otherwise what's the point?

If suffering is a discovery of strength and courage, I have met some of the worlds greatest explorers. I have seen a fortitude of courage that brings me to my knees. And what shakes me to my core is their willingness to share. To show their vulnerability, their pain, their deepest sorrow is what has made our sky brighter today. Today we must give thanks to those who have the courage to tell the tale of their suffering so that we may all grow as humans. 

If I had a box to stand on here's what I would shout: I believe to my core that service is born of suffering. I believe that in the sharing of our darkness and our light we may truly know we are one. 

I acknowledge Ryan Leier, Caitlin Powell-Bowman and Kevin Acha (and many more) who have shown me what fierce grace really is. 


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