When I Consider Pain

I’d been feeling dry, like the words prepped for my blog posts were sputtering out rather than pouring out. Last night I popped popcorn and settled in on Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. A few pages in, the words struck water; I read,
“. . . pain and joy are arteries of the same heart,” and I knew, I knew what to write.

There is a difference between searching for happiness and searching for what is meaningful. If our goal is to be happy, then we tend to view pain as something negative, as something to be avoided, as an indicator that we need to get away from whatever is causing the pain in order to move on to something painless, something “better.” But if our goal is to experience what is meaningful, then we tend to accept that pain is just part of the game; pain, then, is not always bad. Sometimes, maybe even often, goodness comes with pain.

It sounds wonderful and spot-on to say that we desire happiness, and it even sounds quite loving to say that we want the people we love to be happy. But I think that our search for happiness leads us to dead-ends and roadblocks and shying away from the meaningful – because pain makes us unhappy, so we run from it. Certainly not all the time, please hear me, but maybe sometimes we need to consider whether or not the pain we are experiencing comes simultaneously with goodness. Let’s be strong people who persevere through pain and experience the meaningful (though please, please, let’s be discerning about when to persevere and when to recognize that we need to get away from something destructive).

Thanks, Ann Voskamp, for striking water in this dry ground.

 

January 19 Joy Dare: 3 Gifts That Might Never Have Been
1. Reconnection with a dear soul
2. Hangout time with a best friend (who is visiting from countries away!!) and her boyfriend
3. Only 30 minutes worth of homework (!!!) (Technically, this was on Sunday.)

January 20 Joy Dare: 3 Gifts Only Seen Close Up
1. How gloriously clean the sink gets after washing clothes by hand in it
2. State quarters – happening upon them in the midst of doing laundry makes life so much better, for real! Today I used an Olympic quarter. What?!
3. A newly-stocked, clean fridge

January 21 Joy Dare: A Gift in Sky, Water, Memory
Sky: Clear skies!! It’s one of those cold, clear days.
Water: Twin caramel lattes with a best friend (Coffee is kind of like water.)
Memory: Summertime (I am still so, so grateful for my experiences working at Duke Youth Programs.)

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