Dealing with our pain. Imagine you’re reaching up onto your cabinets (because you can reach the top of them on your tiptoes) and you suddenly feel a pain shooting through your middle. You shrug it off as a pulled muscle or a tweak and carry on with your life. The next day, as you’ve felt this pain continuously, you finally decide to seek some an outside opinion and that person tells you to go see the doctor. You do and they confirm your suspicions that you have a hernia. The surgery is setup and as you’re driving to the hospital that morning, you lose it and give into the probability that the surgery will probably cause more pain than you’re experiencing currently. You don’t want to go through with it. I can deal with the pain I have, I don’t want to take on anymore than I have to.

Now, imagine this pain to be emotional. I know I’m talking about my recent hernia, but the thing about pain is we avoid them all similarly. So, think of a past hurt, something that was rather scarring growing up and you tell me. Have you dealt with it? Do you want to? Were you even aware that you’re still hurting and affected by it today, years down the line? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume “no” to each. Friend, whether you see it or not, this is a major problem today. This is an even more evident problem in the Church and we need to begin fixing it now.

Not all pain is the same. This is the first thing we need to understand about pain. There are unnecessary pains in life we incur in our lives and they bring us only hurt. We learn from those and we avoid them, yes. However, there are also pains that invite both hurt and growth into our lives. These are good pains and while they hurt, there is a reward at the end and we are better for it.

We need pain. I’m not advocating that life should be a cesspool of pain, but pain is a necessary experience in this life. First of all, we’re stubborn (well, I am) and sometimes we need a stronger reminder of God’s presence in our lives. There are just times when we get so wrapped up in our own microcosms, we need to be rudely (for lack of a better word) awakened to the reality around us. Second of all, if life were gumdrops and unicorns, well I can only take so many unicorns. No, if life were easy, then how much fun would that be? I don’t know about you, but I’d get bored and fast. Finally, we need pain as it highlights what is seriously important. As we’re looking back through our lives, pain is like the highlighted sections of the book where we look and see the biggest events in our lives.

Pain is daunting. Yes, pain hurts. That’s the fact of the matter, but we have to understand as I did in the car the other morning was that the discomfort we face in the dealing with that pain is far less than the aggregate and the potential of not facing it. While dealing with pain may lead to an intense hurt, that pales in comparison to a lifetime filled with a slightly lesser (maybe) pain we’ll undoubtedly carry with us.

The choice is ours. We can choose to live with the pain to which we’ve already resigned ourselves, sure. However, we can also go through the wall, confronting that pain and all that’s wrapped up in it. We can suffer for the rest of our lives watching as our souls gangrene over the rest of our lives, dying before our very eyes. We can live never truly alive, constantly dying inside because we chose to settle with the pain that is lesser today. Or, we can see the Doctor today and begin dealing with our pain.