The Meaning of Pain

Life hurts. It’s a fact, we can not escape. No matter how much I try to control myself, and the world around me, I am fighting a losing battle. I have had my fair, and unfair share of pain. Foreclosure, termination of employment (more than a couple times), divorce,  passed over for promotion, miscarriages, bullying, and so much more. I am reminded that nowhere in the handbook of life am I promised it will be easy. Nothing worthwhile is.

Recently I was reminded of the pains from life, due to the death of a former client. Over the past several months I have worked directly and indirectly with several guys who have eventually lost their battle with addiction. It breaks my heart for their families left behind, the preciousness of life, and reminds me of my finite abilities. It also serves as a reminder of how important personal growth is. Whether the struggle is addiction, depression, low self-esteem, or some other hiderance the goal is to keep fighting. I can not be satisfied by the temporary reprieve from pain. I look back at the pain in my life and see how it truly is the great motivator, however it is not necessary. As I mature, I have learned to grow from the pain I can walk through with others.

But what do we do with the pains of life? First, we have to acknowledge the pain and allow ourselves to feel the emotions. Know that these are only emotions. They are not facts. They do not harm us and they will subside in time. Second, we must let it drive us to our support. Be it friends, family, groups, sponsor, pastor, or a stranger. We must find others to lean on in the pains or life. Third, we must find meaning. This can be difficult when life is not fair and innocent victims arise. However, even in the most atrocious of circumstances we can find meaning. Psychologist and holocaust survivor Victor Frankle wrote in his book Man’s Search For Meaning, “If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.”

In times like now when things seem to have little meaning and the death of people close to me seem to be unstoppable, I find the need to keep searching for growth and in that pray the life and struggles of others can find some shadow of meaning. 

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. – Psalm 23:4

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