I’m off work today and am sitting outside in my place of quiet and rest. Sipping on my coffee, listening to the birds singing and the goofy squirrels and chipmunks leaping from limb to limb and frolicking on the ground brings me much pleasure. I delight in the warmth of the bright sun all around me. It is a beautiful day for me and yet I am not insensitive to the ones in my life that are not in this good, quiet and peaceful place in their life. My thoughts are with a particular friend going through a very difficult, painful time and my prayers are that they will continue to have faith in God and trust Him to bring them through and learn what it is they must through this time.
One is to become harder, calloused, mean and cynical and deny and refuse to acknowledge the change and growth needed to take place within us. We may isolate ourselves, refusing to let anyone in to help and mourn with us; we push them away unwilling to trust anyone, not even God in our most desperate place. We may refuse to cry, holding onto the notion that tears are for sissy’s and we can handle anything without showing any emotion that comes our way. We refuse to allow the pain, the brokenness to soften and cleanse our broken hearts. But instead we build walls around our hearts, cold, hard and stony walls and we choose to allow the anger and the bitterness to set up residence inside us and by doing so, we live in fear; afraid, skeptical, arrogant and judgmental instead of being in a place of grace, peace, joy and love. We find ourselves not able to love, nor be loved and that is a miserable lonely tormented life to live my friends.
The other option we have is to embrace the pain, to acknowledge it, see it truthfully as it is; a great teacher. To walk through it and allow its companionship to do its mission; to teach us, for us to learn what we need to, to change what needs to be changed and to become more open and grow and be better human beings. Pain is supposed to bring tears; when we hurt and when we are broken, we are meant to cry. For it is in the crying, tears are softening our hearts walls, tearing down the ego inside and expanding the heart and life’s capacity for increase, for more. Like any muscle, being broke down through exercise, it heals and rebuilds stronger and larger. Pain teaches us to be bigger, stronger, more vulnerable and to develop a deeper character and to care more and love more. The truth is we all must walk through it at some point in our lives; we cannot escape the great lesson from the great teacher. Pain teaches us to be more sensitive, more empathetic and more compassionate. Pain and its best friend suffering brings 20/20 vision to us, they open our eyes to see the bigger picture, to see circumspectly, and in greater depth the suffering of others. Pain is what often awakens us to our true identity, to our destiny, to our purpose in life, why we were born and who we were created to be.
I think of Jesus; He became Who He was destined to be through the ultimate pain of death on the cross for our sins. It was in His deepest, darkest, and greatest hours of anguish, he cried and poured His heart out as tears of blood rolled down His cheeks, “Not My Will Father, but Yours Be Done here in Me, this earthen vessel, even as it is done in Heaven”. So we too must face it, we must be introduced and acquainted with pain at sometime in our lives, we cannot escape it. For our earthly journey is all about creating a path that leads us back to our Father and His will in our lives.
When someone we care for and love is going through a painful time, the greatest gift we can give to them is to remember ourselves that there is light beyond the darkness for them. We know that the lessons, the real changes, the opportunities to grow and expand through the pain is something our natural and physical eyes can’t see; for we were once blinded and overcome with grief by the great pain too. But just being there, cradling their hand, crying with them and holding them in our arms may bring some comfort. Telling them it will get better may not help at the moment, it may even make it worse, but eventually the darkness will begin to fade for them, giving way to the light of dawn and they will understand too: lesson learned, just as we did.
Growth and expansion is never completed until something first is changed, unearthed, torn down and ripped apart and the debris is removed. Then and only then, can the old be replaced with that which is Christ-like, new, better, bigger and greater. Our life’s journey in earth is all about becoming who we were created to be.
My friends, Let us learn from our pain, don’t waste it, don’t let the experience unchange you, don’t ignore the lesson pain has brought to teach. For I know for certain, from personal experience and on my own journey that we all will surely be visited by The Great Teacher: Mr Pain again and again and again until we finally get it!
My friends, may you embrace where you are today and what you are going through. Let it teach you and learn from it, be open and pliable and willing to surrender to what needs attention in your life.
Tonya F Henshaw
August 4, 2015