Writing in the Orange County Register, Anne Snyder praises the lessons of the passion of Kara Tippetts, who died on March 22 from cancer. Excerpt:

Suffering is a teacher – we know this somehow. It can’t be glorified nor wished for, dismissed or explained. We can’t even really prepare for it – the particularities of our lives and what hurts are their own precious truth, not to be converted away so that future pain is minimized.

But as Kara so breathtakingly demonstrated, when suffering comes, it can be honored, its bearers a witness to a world that has lost a vocabulary of genuine brokenness, and of what it is simply to be, not do. She described how her stripped dignity brought people mysteriously close to her. How her innermost desires and fears suddenly became so clear. In two and a half years of a public telling, she let rawness and grace co-exist, opening a door to another way to walk through the dark, even a dark that leads to death.

“Souls are like athletes that need opponents worthy of them,” Thomas Merton once said, “if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers.”

Our culture is convinced that suffering is an abnormality, something to pity and avoid. But there’s a tradition this week that will tell a different story, some may argue a more realistic one. It’s a cruciform story, its believers tracing the steps of one who descended to death over two thousand years ago. For those who grieve and are afflicted, the days offer an invitation to walk through valleys in the company of others, bringing testimonies like Kara’s, bringing unresolved pain and certainties torn asunder. All toward the hope that none of these are the last word.

Read the whole thing. An incredible tribute to a saint who lived among us. And, says our faith, still does.

Know hope.

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