I’ve been processing through a lot of sadness lately. It’s the kind of sadness that only comes up when someone you love touches on it, reminds you of it, or does something that hits a little too close to an unhealed wound in your heart.
And that definitely happened last week. It’s not so much the person or event itself that brought on all the sadness, but rather the pain in my past that it resembled and brought to the surface. It touched on a really deep wound that hasn’t been really felt or processed through yet – but now it’s been brought to the surface and the pain is coming out in a lot of tears, prayers, questions, and today….songs.
It’s not easy when someone you love does something that brings up that much pain. I think if this had happened a year ago I wouldn’t have known the difference between the pain I was feeling and the person I perceived to be responsible for it. But time and growth have brought me to a better place and I know only a portion of my current pain actually has to do with him.
The rest has to do with deep, old wounds that never had the opportunity to heal. Relationship pain that came from family, parents, and people who were supposed to be friends but weren’t. Who were supposed to love me but didn’t. And as I’ve been processing all this pain I’ve had so many revelations. I’ve learned so much more about myself than I even realized a single week ago.
So for all that and more, I am grateful for it. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding pain. But in so doing I’ve avoided the best lessons and opportunities to learn more about myself and about God. In avoiding pain, I’ve avoided healing and connection with myself and God. I haven’t become a better person for learning expert ways of avoiding or ignoring pain. In fact, I’ve become a far worse person for it. But when I stop running from or avoiding pain and simply let it wash over me in all it’s fullness, that is the very place where I meet God face to face.
Why? Because He is close to the brokenhearted. He is especially near to those who mourn. He is drawn to those who grieve and suffer. So to avoid, dismiss, or deny our own pain is to essentially tell Jesus “no thanks, I don’t need you today…I’m fine” even though we all know we aren’t. But Jesus can’t work with inauthenticity. He can only work with our honesty. So it’s when we connect to our pain that we become desperate for His presence in a way we can never fully experience without it. It’s where we connect to our dependency on him. It’s where we learn grace, mercy, and compassion for others. It’s where we learn about ourselves and about the heart of our Creator.
I’m learning that pain is most definitely not my enemy. In fact, it is a friend. It is a teacher, It is a breaker of pride, hubris, self-reliance, and self-importance. It can accomplish in one day what joy cannot accomplish in years. I don’t have to be afraid of it. In fact, I can embrace it. I can allow it to come and instead of fighting and getting angry, I can simply throw myself at the feet of Jesus in desperate need of His mercy and grace – and know that He will meet me there with an unconditional love that can transform my very heart and soul.
So thank you, Jesus. Thank you even for the pain. Thank you even for the pain that brings up old wounds so that they can come out of the darkness and into your healing light. So they can be healed and cleansed by your unfathomable love….a love I will never deserve.