In this week’s blog and podcast (link below), we’ll be talking about a topic that may be difficult. This isn’t a feel-good post. It isn’t something you’ll read and feel energized and ready to tackle the world. But it is a post that will inspire you (I hope!) and could lead you to becoming a better person.
Here’s what I’ve learned about pain:
- Pain is universal, no one gets to avoid it. (Believe me, I’ve tried).
- Pain isn’t just the result of someone else’s actions on us. It’s something our actions or words may cause for someone else. It can also be something we inflict on ourselves.
- Pain can breed fear and make us want to isolate.
But pain has an upside. Pain can be our teacher…if we let it.
Many times the pain we endure comes from loss. If we allow it, this loss can help us live fuller lives because we come to terms with the reality that we don’t live forever. We have to (and we GET to) choose who we want to be and what we want to do with our time…while we still have it!
Pain doesn’t only teach us; it can bring about beauty.
Life never looks more beautiful and vivid than when we recover from a serious illness or injury or loss. Laughing, enjoying a wonderful meal with our families, hiking in the woods…all these seemingly “ordinary” activities take on new wonder when faced with the realization that they are only available for a limited time.
It seems our instincts tell us we have to speed through the painful period – the faster the better. Let me offer you another option to consider: Be present in whatever painful experience you’re in. Don’t rush through it. This is especially true when we lose a loved one. Facing loss requires courage. Feeling the loss and accepting it isn’t a box to check.
And this is where the relationship between pain and faith is so valuable.
We can hold the space of loss and still keep hope when we believe that a divine presence is guiding us and caring for us each step of the way. This awareness makes us kinder. We can choose how we respond to our pain. Isolate, grow embittered…or allow it to make us more empathetic with others.
We don’t have to go through our pain alone. Reaching out to trusted friendships, guides in the form of coaches and counselors, and a loving God can help us move pain into being a teacher that grows us into being a better person.
Embrace what pain has to offer and you just might find yourself becoming the kind of person you admire.
Be sure to check out this podcast with my friends Joe where we carry this discussion further.
I hope it will be a gift to you.