The Place of Pain

Whether it be Frankie Beverly or Rob Base, many of us have heard or sung the lyrics that included “Joy and pain, sunshine and rain…” indicating that both are a natural part of life. It occurred to me today however that general human pathology is one that welcomes and waits for joy, but avoids pain like a bill collector. It is not difficult to understand. Pain hurts. It is uncomfortable. It is unpleasant. It is well…painful. If we had the ability or power, many of us would choose a life without pain, not realizing that choosing a life without pain means choosing a life without growth or appreciation.

Consider this: if we never knew what it felt like to lose something or go without it, we might never appreciate it or understand its value. Recently, I caught a head cold and lost my normal strength and the ability to breathe out of both my nostrils for a few days. After days of constant medication, when my unrestricted breathing and strength came back, I understood why the old folks used to get up in church and say “I thank God for health and strength.”

There was a popular television sitcom back in the eighties called “Growing Pains.” The show dealt with a family of five including three children and all of their “growing pains.” You see life includes growth and that growth is sometimes accompanied by pain. There is the pain of truth. Sometimes the truth hurts; especially when you realize that your friend is not really a friend or your girlfriend is not really your girlfriend or that your best friend for the past 10 years is now going in a different direction than you are.

We also have to accept painful truths about ourselves that many of us run from because we feel that it is too painful. The bottom line is this: pain has a purpose in our lives. It has a place. Allow the pain to do its job. It may be there to inform you that something greater is wrong or to escort you to higher heights in life. After hurts come healing and if we avoid the pain, we can never get to a greater place of health, growth or appreciation. Think about it and decide today to face the pain. It is not greater than you are.

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