Sunday, December 16, 2007

PAIN

PAIN

Pain is a tool that we can actually learn from. Naturally, when we are young children, and we put our hand on the stove, and it burns, we have hopefully learned a lesson.

But, when we are older, and have endured much more of life, our pain tends to be, more often than not, emotional rather than physical. How do we process that kind of pain? Is there a band-aid for emotions? Is there salve to soothe the burning dark holes of our souls? What are we learning from this pain that residually tears at the depths of our hearts? We might learn to run from it. We might learn to hide from it. We might ignore it. We might cover it up and protect ourselves, with things like alcohol and illicit, meaningless relationships. We might become the comedian that everyone enjoys having around. We might become driven in our work, our professionalism, or athleticism. Ultimately, though, none of those things will ever fully quench the thirst of pain.

Nevertheless, pain is a useful tool. Suffering will either drown us or drive us into the world of others...to see that we are not alone...that others experience pain, and when we can begin to see the light at the end of our dark tunnels…our cold winter's nights…that there is something to gain from pain. Yes, the growth in ourselves is freeing, but the ability to see other's pain is the reward. And, in this, we find an experiential gift to empathize and help the broken ones.

From here, we can realize how unaware we were of the larger purpose of our lives. We can begin to live for something bigger than ourselves. This gives us reason. Reason to live. Reason to avoid moral shortcuts. Reason to live a life that becomes a legacy. Something beautiful that we may never even catch a glimpse of.

Psalm 119 in the bible is a great place to explore. Fascinating adventures of the heart lay waiting for you in that long chapter of the Word. To me, a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, it is almost like entering C.S. Lewis' wardrobe. Climb past the musty fur coats and enter the enchanted land! Psalm 119:71, for example: The suffering you sent me was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles....

I also examine the lives of faith lived through the Biblical accounts. Don't you see the pain and agony those people lived through, even under God's blessing?

Man, I look at the life of Ruth. Knowing the background and the culture of the time, I see how much that life must have really sucked! She remained committed to Naomi because she could see no other choice. She led a hard, hard life. In the end, when her story, like yours, turned around, she realized her blessing. But little did she know the complete impact of her life...leading to the throne of David, and the birth of Christ. I encourage you to read the Book of Ruth, if you haven't.

Well, thats what was on my mind this afternoon.

Don't hang onto all those old "been there done that pain and processing" T-shirts. Maybe it is good to keep some, to remember. But others, use them for rags, or discard them.

~ RBR, June 10 2007