A reflection on pain and faith
by Silvia Ordonez
A couple of weeks ago, my husband had to be admitted to a clinic for a few days. It was nothing serious, but I felt the normal concern of knowing that the person you love is in a vulnerable situation.
That’s why this wonderful campaign from the Ronald McDonald Children’s Foundation comes at the right time. I confess that it also brought tears to my eyes. Now more than ever I understand the impressive work he has been doing for 25 years in favor of health, with his program that has helped more than 12,000 children living with the disease in hospital centers and their families.
Before continuing to tell you what it is, however, I invite you to personally watch this jewel of video that tells the story of “Captain Olson” (seeing him you will understand who this character is).
Can joy and suffering coexist in our lives?
Watching this video, there are so many ideas that come to my mind and heart. A mixture of emotions, in which I feel tenderness for the innocent and fantastic games of those two brothers who love each other so much, but at the same time also a great sadness for the situation this family has to live in, because physical illness is never easy , and least of all in a child.
As the video progresses, however, I recover hope, because I see the change of attitude and tears mixed with smiles. Can you feel joy and sadness in the same circumstance? The definitive answer is “Yes”.
Suffering is part of our human condition. We are fragile beings, and throughout our lives we are faced with various painful situations. Paradoxically, it is the most difficult moments that leave us with the most valuable lessons and teach us to be resilient.
As Christians, then, we know that the Cross brought us deep pain, but at the same time enormous hope, because Jesus died for us so that we could be saved. It is not a simple historical fact, but something that marks all of us and that is reflected in our lives, in the way in which we are capable of giving a supernatural meaning to our sufferings and even of transforming them into joys.
Surely you know at least one person who, when health failed, in his illness was an example of strength and joy to family and friends. Many sick people crossed that difficult path with such peace and gratitude that it became their direct route to Heaven and even to holiness.
Family and closeness: light in the dark
In the video we see a normal family made up of parents and their two children who have a very close relationship. When the disease arrives, however, they are forced to separate, and the distance prevents them from being together. Even the signal from the walkie-talkies they used to play with doesn’t come through anymore.
It is at that moment that we see very clearly the immense value that the family has in the recovery of little Captain Olson. From this derives the importance of closeness, love and acceptance from the family, which is the solid rock on which every person can support himself in order to go forward and be happy.
In the words of John Paul II, the family is constituted as an “intimate community of life and love”.
Every person “normally comes into the world within a family, so it can be said that he owes the very fact of existing as a man to it. When the family is missing, a worrying and painful lack is created in the person who enters the world which will later weigh on their whole life.
The McDonald’s foundation video is filled with hope when the whole family comes together, and ends with a very meaningful sentence: “A united family is a stronger child”.
God always accompanies us
What happens to people who have a difficult family history? It is a complex question, but we cannot forget that God is our Father and he loves us with an unconditional love. Mary is your Mother and mine, and she welcomes us with immense tenderness. And Jesus is our brother, who guides us, accompanies us and loves us like Captain Olson’s older brother in the video you have just seen.
We pray for all the families of the world who are a beacon and a guiding light in darkness, health and sickness!