As the reader looks at the list below, they will notice immediately that not all of these things are absolutely unique to Catholics. But, they are useful ways that Catholics can experience grief and suffering. I would have added to this list “take a break” and “find humor where humor can be found,” but not everybody can do those things—and the ones who can, do it naturally. It’s not meant to be a complete list—feel free to add your own in the “comments” section!
1) Moving from the question, “why me,” ask, “why not me?”
When we are suffering, it’s the most natural thing in the world to ask “why.” Things that catch us off guard, or at our most vulnerable, or as a series of unfortunate events can get us scrambling to find meaning in our suffering—and that’s brilliant because it acknowledges that we believe that there should be meaning in our suffering. And, as Big Bird says, “Asking questions is a great way of finding things out!” We need to ask God “why” to get us on the journey to discovering that meaning. Whatever personal meaning you may find along the way is a gift—it is the answer to “why me.” But, there is another question we have to ask alongside it; “why not me?” Suffering is a natural part of human experience. It is something that no one successfully avoids. It is something that even God chose (yes chose) not to avoid in the person of Jesus so that we could immediately find meaning in our own suffering. Jesus’ suffering led to the conquering of sin and death for us. It is our salvation, our hope and our model for how we can suffer.