This week’s blog is an excerpt from a chapter of a book I wrote a few years ago, and have yet to release. I don’t occupy the space of this specific pain, anymore. I’ve grieved and gained.
Social media has a way of reminding you, and everyone that can view pasts posts, of who you were before you became the you that you would become. Each past post, especially once grouped together, can provide clarity to the issues that flowed from the heart. From the abundance of the heart, the fingers typeth, sort of thing. It does not take much inspecting or investigating to uncover the truth behind each post, or picture, or meme. The pain is evident in retrospect. There it was, hiding in plain sight.
Pain is not an evil monster that seeks to rob us of an enriched life. Pain, instead, is an alert system that teaches us how to navigate in the future. Pain teaches us to be careful, next time. I do not avoid ovens that I perceive to be hot because my parents told me it would burn me. I did my best to obey my parents; but, the one time I accidentally got too close to a burning eye on the stove, it burned me in a way I would never forget. The pain of that moment forced me to be mindful and careful around the stove. It taught me to respect the potential of the oven. Eventually, my arm healed without even a trace of having been burned. Still, I never played around a stove again.
Pain has been misunderstood. It can be easy to become careless by making decisions without much thought. In some cases, we compromise the integrity of who we are, who we are to become, and who we represent. Pain does not hurt for the sake of hurting us. Pain serves us. It is important to realize that pain teaches us. Can you trace your pain back to a lesson that shaped your perspective?
In addition to teaching me about myself, pain taught me to see others differently. I knew what certain scars looked like. I knew what the heart looked like when it was limping. I knew because I experienced it. I was able to step off of the “high horse” or posting eloquent statuses that sometimes looked down on people experiencing phases in life I may have never had to walk through (yet….because I’ve found that you just NEVER know what life has for you). There was a time that I could not believe someone would post the details of their relationship on a public forum. While I was not necessarily guilty of that, I could see past the damning words into a soul that was really bruised. I began to help where I could. I administered First Aid to certain scars and could point and accompany individuals to the direction of The Healer. Pain showed me what it felt like to experience a heart under attack. The earlier I saw the signs, the quicker I could pray for and encourage others.
In the past, I wished I dealt with pain privately. I used to feel embarrassed that I was so vulnerable in public spaces. I felt like the athlete that had some major injury take place in front of a stadium full of people being stabilized on half court. Eventually I would be whisked away for x-rays, ultrasounds, a diagnosis, and a plan. The doctors, physical therapists, team trainers, and all involved in my health would lend their expertise in an effort to save my life, and ensure that I am able to eventually return to the court with all my abilities having been sharpened. It does not change the embarrassment of what happens in that moment when injury occurs. Sure, I could bounce back; but, everyone saw what happened. Once I matured, I realized the more people that bore witness to the event, would offer true life perspectives that corroborated the definitive progress I made. They could testify on my behalf.
Are we allowed to be honest about what pains us?
My belief is simple. It is important to tell my truth, free of what any person or anything has done to me. Once I stripped away blame I placed on others, I could own the decisions I made. There was power found in owning my decisions, even though those decisions put me face to face with pain. The stove did not chase me. My decisions and proximity set the events in motion that lead me to get burned. It forced me to pay attention to my habits and character.
My prayer has been that God would allow me to have sweet waters, even when life attempted to make them bitter. Misunderstanding the purpose behind pain is an easy way to incriminate your experiences instead of embracing them to propel you, and a whole segment of people forward. Pain may be hiding in plain sight in your life.
Every injury is required to hurt for a specified time frame. Each time frame varies. Oh, but after a little while…….(Some of you know where I’m going with that one – queue the organ.)
If you are still in pain, can you point to exactly where it hurts? Or are you too distracted about what people say about your injury (how long you are supposed to be in pain, your required recovery time, how others have coped in your same position, etc) to focus on the actual source? In addition, can you as easily discuss the lesson you learned? What did your pain teach you? How have you used it to become better? What decisions have you made because of your pain? I know it has altered you; but, has it improved you?
You’re better. If you don’t see that today, I trust you’ll see it someday.
With love until next time,