Trials and tribulations. Difficulties. Catastrophes. Pain and sorrow. Anguish. These are not places we like to be. We don't wake up in the morning and think, "Today, I'm looking forward to some good, old-fashioned pain." We avoid situations that may cause us heartache, because we would much rather feel happiness and joy. We would rather have a smile on our face than a scowl.
Let me argue something, something I heard over the weekend that brought me so much clarity I had to squint.
"Where there is pain, there is meaning."
Let that sit with you for a minute. Let it make you uncomfortable. Lean into it, lean into it so much that you break under the pressure. It might scare you, to let yourself stare pain in the face. Marinade in it, marry it, embrace it. Do you allow yourself to truly be in your pain? Maybe you let it sneak under the door, but do you let it meet you in the dark, vulnerable, raw places in your heart? When you let the pain seep in like the rain seeps into the dry earth, you will find a tiny, incandescent miracle - the pain will ebb and flow like the waves, but as the tide fades, where the waves once crashed on the shore, there is clarity. There is a clarity and a meaning that you have never known. We run away from pain because it's like ripping off a band-aid; immediately painful and something we don't look forward to. What is beneath the band-aid, though? Is the wound still aching? Is it still an open, angry gash? No. The wound is healing. So it is with our heartaches, our anguish, our sorrows. Allow yourself to be in the middle of the pain. Stand in the storm, let the rain pelt your face and dance with the lightning, quake with the thunder, because after the storm, you will look around and see the new life it has brought.
The miracle of pain is that it teaches us what we're made of. I'm a youth group leader, and this weekend we had our annual retreat. The girls in my group along with my co-leader talked about this idea of building our houses. Everything that we do, every decision we make, are bricks in the house we have to live in. If you build your house out of broken promises, bitterness, resentment, anger, and unresolved pain, when a catastrophe strikes, your house will crumble. Conversely, if you build your house out of truth, hope, love, and most of all, strength, you will find that, with every new pain, your house gets stronger and stronger.
So be in the pain. Be in the sorrow. Don't wallow in it - rather, let it wash over you. Explore it. Talk to it. Experience it and allow it to ruminate in your soul. How you react to it, and the strength you gain from each experience, will be bricks in your house.
Build a good one.
Brooke + JuneBug