I read this week that someone out there (God Wants You To Know App on Facebook) decided that our pains are God's way to rouse you from slumber. Seriously, no wonder so many of us want to sleep in! This from a Facebook App..."Pain is your wake-up call to awaken, to look deeper into yourself, to adjust the course of your life. God tries to be as gentle as possible, and only if you ignore the call does the pain get stronger." Gulp, okay, I'll admit it, this reminds me of MY story to others about the universe throwing pebbles at you, then river stones, then if you don't heed those warnings maybe a brick or a boulder will do. Same point, I get it. Nonetheless, my flesh cringed reading the words from the application's post. Sometimes the truth will do that to you. At the flesh cringing point at least I was able to realize that this reaction is one of those Lao Tzu moments, when I have to trust in the goodness of the words and the thinking behind them and that their author meant them with nothing but love I'm sure of it.
Seems as of late many people I care for are having life pain. Whether it's physical, psychological, environmental, or circumstantial, it all hurts and it all wears them and those that love them seriously thin. Even in my own life I've had to remind myself of breathing, being present, being grateful, etc. I have to remind myself to find peace and hope that we all know thus far that the pain is temporary and that it does have an end, even if that end means saying goodbye to someone you love because they've passed on. I watch from near and afar those I care for suffer. I watch how they cope, how they reach out to others for love and support, how they pull inward and push others away. I watch and I try very hard to be present because face it, pain is the one thing on the earth that we all want to avoid. By watching I'm learning what to do and not to do when dealing with my own pain. Anything to reduce the learning curve I'm all over. Again, my gut reaction is to run far, far away from pain.
Alas, thankfully, life does goes on. Yes, as much as it can be painful, it too can be joyful. It is what it is. We all have the same 24 hours in any given day here. At least if we pay attention and try to learn from it, pain is temporary. Sooner or later we get past it and something else in life comes along to focus on. There's an ebb and flow to the good times and the bad if you go with the flow. There's also of course the appreciation of being grateful and hopeful in both good times and bad. If we fail to take the lesson, to embrace the pain (whatever it is) we surely are doing nothing more than quitting on ourselves by taking the easy (read: avoidance) way out. How do I know this? I've lived it. I was only able to get a grip and embrace and learn the lessons from each pain once I learned to have unconditional love for myself.
One of my all time favorite writings about unconditional love comes from Hemal Radia. He says that, "Unconditional love - it is always about your relationship with yourself. When you release conditions for others to have to be a certain way, you are also releasing conditions for you to allow yourself to feel a certain way (It's about you, not others. They're the moving targets. It's always about You)." Radia's words are point on. Again, someone else passing along the universal knowledge of the journey. Thank you.
Once I got that life lesson I was better able to have hope and experience it in my life. I'm of partial Italian decent and there's an Italian Proverb that says "Hope is the last thing ever lost." I heard that a lot growing up. Yes, good, good hope, that thing that makes life worth living in dark times, that thing of anticipation and excitement. The belief that no matter what, somewhere, somehow, something is going to come to pass that is for our betterment. After all, they say that "Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible." - Annonymous
Even one of my favorite teachers and authors, Norman Vincent Peale stressed in his writings and speaking the practice of hopefulness. He said we should make it a habit and that by doing so we achieve permanent happiness in spirit. So, I remind you (as I remind myself) to create the habit of hope in your life, even when life is painful. Choose hope. Choose happiness.
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