Pain is an indication that something is not correct. But unfortunately, we live in a broken, corrupt and imperfect world – so there are many things which simply are not right all the time, which in turn, causes pain.
With that said, sometimes we also cause our own pain by choices and decisions. Sometimes we don’t intend to cause ourselves pain or perhaps don’t even realize what we’ve done will lead us down a hurtful path. Sometimes we know and we trade off a temporary pleasure to pay the piper later.
In the end, when we are hurt, we must look at these two possibilities. Often we focus on one or the other, rather than both. I know I have been self-piteous and blamed myself for things beyond my control or my influence. On the flipside, I have been in denial about my own responsibility and been content to blame others or this broken world for a lack of just resolution. It’s easier than one likes to believe to misplace and to misidentify the source of our pain.
However, I do believe in Providence and Serendipity. I don’t believe “everything” happens for a reason, but I do believe that some things are meant to be. Somewhat counter-intuitively, I believe in free-will and that nothing in our human experience is absolute destiny. These are abstract and esoteric thoughts that would take a several pages to explain the details of my belief – so for the moment let’s just accept that these are my beliefs. I imagine many out there in this crazy world of ours share this same philosophy which I have so vaguely described.
When bad things happen, when hurt occurs, we have a choice. My pastor has phrased it that we can either let that pain define us or we can let it refine us. And that’s the choice. But it’s not that simple. We want to know the source. Sometimes we want to know to blame it. That is part of how the pain begins to define us. However, knowing the source is not bad, in my opinion. In fact, I believe it is important to know the source, but not so we can place blame, but rather so we can take proper action.
For me to gain serenity through the pain, I must follow the prayer. I must own up to what is my responsibility and have to courage to change what I can. I must also accept what is beyond my control. And in that prayer, most importantly, I must ask God to give me the wisdom to know which is which. Because I believe in all pains, although God did not make them happen, He is working for my betterment.
God, the universe, fortune, whatever you want to call it, is giving me an opportunity to grow and learn something. But I have to be honest about my part in the matter, to face it rather than blame the luck of it or perhaps blame the corruption of another. Even if I have no blame, there may still be something I need to do. And I have to be sincere and honest about that to hear the whispers of guidance through the pain and hurt.
That is no easy task. I’ve had this training and knowledge in my head for decades. But it is not about my head but rather about my heart. Every time I suffer even a little, I have to relearn this lesson...sometimes over a very long time and over a lot of anguish.