Through the Pain
by Kevin K. Nelson
There’s no denying it…life is filled with pain. Some of us have had so much pain that we are overwhelmed by it. The thought of trying to work through the pain, to face the realities of what has happened, may make us feel like shutting down and giving up. However, there is hope. There is a way to work through pain and to come out the other side healthier, stronger, and—perhaps—even able to help others through their own pain, but…you have to face it.
When faced with pain, at first it seems easier to ignore it, but when that doesn’t work—when it looms over our head like an ominous shadow—our first instinct can be to try to run away from it and hide. Some people even try moving to another state just in order to escape their pain. However, no matter where we run to, our pain follows us. Things that have happened to us in our past affect how we live our lives, how we develop friendships, how, or whether or not, we trust people, and even how we relate with our spouse. There is no escaping pain no matter how hard we try.
Unfortunately, since we can’t escape pain, our failed attempts may leave us feeling hopeless. We don’t see a way out of our pain, and eventually, we just want to give up, because that feels like the only option that we haven’t tried. We may even contemplate suicide as a way to escape the reality of our seemingly destroyed lives. So, it is here, at these moments, where pain will either make us or break us. If we continue to try to run away from the pain, or give up even trying, then it will continue to haunt us and leave us in hopelessness. However, if we face our pain…if we can come to accept the past for what it is—the past—then there is still hope for tomorrow.
When I lost an engagement that I had shortly after I graduated from High School, I never got over the pain of that loss. In fact, one of the things that irked me the most was when people would tell me to “just get over it.” For awhile I did try to “get over” her by being angry with her for breaking her promise to me, but that got me nowhere except into more pain. There was no escaping it. So, finally, I was forced to face the reality: The woman that I lost had been an important part of my life, and my relationship with her has forever shaped my life into something different than what it would have been had I never met her. There is no “getting over” that. There is no changing my life back to the way it was before I met her. I loved her as much as any man can love a woman, and I lost her…the loss and the pain are now both a part of who I am. However, by accepting both of these things…by accepting how they have shaped my life…it no longer seems overwhelming. It is a part of me, but it is not all of me. The dreams that we had of children and grandchildren will never come to fruition…but now I have new dreams. I have faced the reality of my past, accepted it, and now look to a new future.
Looking to the future is not pretending that the past never happened; it is accepting the past for what it is…a part of us, a part that we cannot change, and a part that has affected every aspect of our lives. We must also remember, though, that our past is not everything. Your past has helped to shape you, but now you have a choice. You can choose to let your past rule your life, or choose to let God mold your life into something beautiful. If you are willing, God can use the pain from your life—not only to strengthen you—but also to give you the opportunity to help others through their own pain.
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