“You do not get to choose the events that come your way nor the sorrows that interrupt your life. They will likely be a surprise to you, catching you off guard and unprepared. You may hold your head in your hands and lament your weak condition and wonder what you ought to do. To suffer, that is common to all. To suffer and still keep your composure, your faith and your smile is remarkable. Pain will change you more profoundly than success or good fortune. Suffering shapes your perceptions of live, your values and priorities. Your goals and your dreams. Your pain is changing you.”
Pastor David Crosby
Pain sucks, bottom like. Physical pain that persists and leads to chronic pain is awful and emotional pain can be just as bad: at times worse. I have said this before but the fear of pain is often greater than the pain itself. This is why when one let us say has a headache and takes Tylenol, he or she feels better before the Tylenol has even gotten into their system. I know, I know no one with chronic pain takes Tylenol for their pain: for us that would be just as effective as eating a tic tac. People with a chronic illness such as chronic pain have a deeper sense of empathy and a love for little things than those who do not have a chronic condition. I will never forget the day (ten/fifteen years after my accident) sitting in the car reading and thinking: “Oh my God, this is amazing. I am actually enjoying reading again and not thinking about pain.” Something so small as reading a book made me incredibly happy because I never thought I would enjoy anything again due to chronic pain. Pain and suffering are two very different things. I suffered from my invisible illness for over a decade but I no longer suffer from chronic pain, however the pain is there. John Green says: “That is the thing about pain, it demands to be felt.” This is true but at a certain point that pain turns your life into something you had never planned and you look back and think: “Holy crap, I never thought I would have gotten through that” and you will see the many blessings such as, self love and strength that came due to suffering.
This is true for every single person in the world because you may not have any chronic illness but at some point we all suffer. At some point we all face very scary crossroads in life that cause us a pain so deep we wonder how we will ever survive: but we do. When I am faced with life changes and sufferings, I am very resistant to acceptance of what life has thrown at me. I believe we all are to a certain extent however, I truly resist the reality of certain situations and try to “fix” things that are just not in my hands. Due to my non-resistance I suffer more and my inner peace and self love go right out the window. The one thing I hold onto is how I managed to accept and live with chronic pain without a cure and/or pain medications. When faced with suffering and sadness or grief, I can look back and see that I truly came close to ending my life because of chronic pain. If I am here now and living as opposed to just surviving with chronic pain, I know I can get through anything. I’m not sure everything happens for a reason and that saying bothers me at times because some things just make no sense. I do know that out of pain and suffering one gains strength, determination, and is given unexpected blessings. Sometimes we are so deep in our own pain that we are unable to hold onto hope and truly do not believe we will ever be happy and/or our life dreams will not come to fruition. However, I can tell you from first hand experience out of pain and suffering you will be given a sense of gratitude and love that would not exist had it not been for your struggle.
We must continue to consistently think: “Something miraculous is going to happen.” Because it will. Sometimes it is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the tunnel itself.