It is amazing to experience all the resources available for finding happiness. The pitch for happiness is in abundance everywhere we turn. Do this, and you will be happy. If you go there, you will become happy. Enroll in this, to become happy. Buy this or that, then. . . we will become happy. What if true happiness isn't available to anyone . . . not you nor I. . . until we have dealt with our pain. Could there be some truth in this statement?
From the moment of our birth, until our soul leaves the body, life is painful.
Forced out through the canal of birth, our tiny bodies squeezed and contorted, we gasp in desperation for that first inflow of life-giving air. We scream. What pain!
What fear! Our first real experience of our new world.
Now, think of the other end of life. (I've seen it many times.) It always concludes with an exhalation. One final outflow of breath as the spirit leaves its earthly vessel.
Sandwiched between our first and final breaths is pain. Lots of pain. One painful experience after another. From birth through death, each of us owns a lifetime of painful experiences. True, there are moments when the pain subsides. Moments of light, fragrance and peace. Fragments of joy. Hints of perfection. Where everything in life is as it should be. Where all sustenance of life is revealed.
But beneath the surface, pain’s presence is insistent, unrelenting, undeniable . . . woven throughout the fine strands of life’s canvas. Ever so delicately just beneath the surface, laced and weaved throughout the fine strands of the fibers within the canvas. Is it possible the best we can ever do… is to acknowledge the presence of the pain that is forever present on our canvas of life? Can we shift the way we look at it? Can we begin a new relationship with the pain? Is it possible to accept and embrace the ever present pain? Is it possible to dissolve the power of the stigma, shame, or guilt that we associate with the pain we hold inside? Do we fear our deepest and most painful experiences will be discovered?
I think there are many who ponder these questions and feel the same as I, but don’t communicate it.
I believe our experience of pain defines our existence in this world. It determines how we give and receive, how we perceive and interact with one another. I believe our pain controls more than we can ever know. Perhaps our entire experience of life is filtered through the lens of our pain.
Some, very few, can communicate their pain. But most of us cannot. We keep our pain locked up, afraid to show it, out of fear of discovery. And it makes me wonder:
Does our pain keep us from experiencing the fullness of the living God in our lives?
Do we make goodness unattainable by keeping our pain inside?
Does harboring our pain cause us to see our reflection only dimly “as in a mirror” . . . when we could be seeing “face to face”? (1 Corinthians 13:12 http://biblehub.com/esv/1_corinthians/13.htm)
Is it possible, the only way to break from pain’s shackles, the only path to freedom, is to speak the poison out? Can something phenomenal be manifested through purging the pain we hold captive inside? When another human being listens closely to our story of pain and tells us “they get it,” a door opens. Especially when they repeat our pain back to us as if they truly get it. We know we are not alone. We feel the empathy. We begin to feel the healing. We begin to step into the light. The pinhole of light that can pierce the darkness. We step into the healing light.
And we embolden others to tell their story. We make it easier for people to tell and to heal — freeing one another from our pain. What a wonderful gift we can give one another simply by speaking and listening with empathy and love.
So speak the pain you are feeling inside. Do it for yourself. Do it for others. You are not alone. There are many of us.
Let’s start writing.
Let’s make this world a better, happier, less painful place.
One story at a time.
I'll go first.