Emotional, spiritual, or physical pain. At some point, it happens to all of us.
In conversation, we rarely hear others say how painful something they experienced was. We hear about their anger, frustration, disappointment or sadness. Rarely do we hear about the intense pain that was felt at the time. Pain is extremely personal.
It’s only natural to fear pain. It can be intense. It can create a lot of self-doubt because our nature is to run to the highest mountain top to avoid pain. Why didn’t we see it coming?Why did God bring this to me? What did I do to deserve this? We anxiously look around for answers and comfort through a mother’s love, a husband’s hug or a friend’s gentle smile. Sometimes we do the opposite and shut down and hide.
Like a crucible filled with extreme heat, pain changes us. It exposes us to an intensity of life itself that we are not used to. One of my favorite poets, Kahlil Gibran said that “to laugh with all of your laughter you must cry with all of your tears”. He was so right.
For a long time, I yearned to figure out what he meant by this. I found to be honest and loving, you must be sensitive and wise. You need to willingly approach intense moments in your life with the thirst for renewal, the thirst for greater understanding, the thirst for true engagement. It is so necessary to experience pain in order to enjoy the depths of joy.
Emotional and spiritual pain are defining moments in our lives as humans. Sometimes they manifest themselves as a dull pain exhibiting itself from our heart through our eyes after months of struggle and disappointment. Other times it is sharp, visibly seen by others, through the loss of a loved one or perhaps when faced with the reality of a limited life we are given to enjoy.
It’s hard to hide who we are when we hurt. Emotional and spiritual pain exposes us. It leaves us vulnerable. It leaves us feeling helpless and defeated. We close out the world because we have spent too much time hiding who we really are. We feel embarrassed by our situation. “Look at me. I’m all messed up” we say. At the same time we become jealous of others for their circumstance appears to be much better (even though most times this is not true – they have their problems too).
In this most intense period of our lives we must try hard to reach our hand out to others. To begin to share openly how painful our circumstance is and to find rest and comfort in the friendship and conversation of others until the pain subsides. Prayer becomes our refuge during intense pain whose practice we must always remember to continue.
There are no answers for pain. Yet we try hard to seek them out. Pain is a part of life’s journey. None of us are picked on because of who we are. We are picked, at times, because it is simply our turn. We always need to remember the life giving powers of conversation and prayer to help pull us up, give us strength, and help us endure during our weakest moments on earth.
Then we must try hard to see the next sunrise for it appears every morning after the rain.