Having a Life / Learning to be happy

The Problem with Pain

I just read a book that said that true bonding among friends happens not over a laugh and a good time, but through grief. “We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all.” – Diane Setterfield

Pain is not only universal, it’s enlightening, healing, poignant, clarifying, detoxifying, and cleansing. But it’s painful. And the problem with pain is that it’s something you want to avoid. At all costs.  I’m no exception – I totally opted for the epidural when I gave birth.

But there’s a clarity you experience when you’re in pain that you can’t find any other time. I think that’s why pain is such a big part of life. We’re not here to breeze through this world unafflicted. We’re here to grow, change, develop, and mature.

I worry that my generation (and younger) is so used to things not being that hard, so that they don’t know how to handle pain when it comes. We do everything possible to avoid it and minimize it. Pills, sex, rebounds, alcohol, escape, delusion….

I fear they’ll stay with a boyfriend they know isn’t right for them because it’s painful to breakup. And I fear that they’ll walk away from a spouse when times get tough because it’s easier than fighting to make it work.

I  got hired (randomly) to sing at a funeral last week for an aged man. One of the speakers told this story that is still with me. She said she and her sisters were at this man’s home and his wife was going off about him and complaining to these ladies about him. They managed to peak over at him to see how he was handling all of this. She said he sat there with a gleam in his eye and a smile like “isn’t my wife so witty and clever?”

It made me realize something about our generation. We don’t stick. We don’t endure. We don’t make lemonade out of lemons – we throw them away and get a brand new orange instead.

I’m not suggesting we seek out pain. Rather, I wonder if there’s a way we can just learn how to deal with it better when it comes – rather than cave, hide, or run…?


3 thoughts on “The Problem with Pain

  1. I think dealing with death is a unique kind of pain. Even with my strong feelings about an afterlife when my grandfather and cousin passed away in 2001 it was like a punch in the stomach. Even today, years later it still makes me emotional to talk about. Not sure why because I am not normally a weepy person. I guess I just miss them.

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