And here now is part two of The Blessings of Pain. You can check out part one here.
5. Pain enables you to be sympathetic.
Not only do they feel compassion for those who are suffering, but they are sympathetic. They not only say the right things, but they do so in the spirit of sympathy that means so much to others even if they haven’t experienced exactly the same struggle.
6. Similar pain enables you to be empathetic.
That sympathy goes above and beyond when they HAVE experienced exactly the same pain or problem. Empathy is an even more powerful support than is sympathy. To have someone who has been through the exact struggle you have been through, share with you, help you and say they understand is even more of a blessing.
So far you say, all these blessings are bestowed upon others. But I tell you it is a blessing to be a blessing to others. To give blessings blesses you in return. But if you need a blessing that is truly your own, look at these:
7. Pain makes you appreciative.
Those who have suffered a great deal appreciate the little things. You get great joy from a simple flower, a pain free moment, a few extra dollars, a bit of free time, a rest, a beautiful day showing God’s beauty in the midst of your suffering. Appreciation gives you hope and hope brings even more blessings. Being appreciative of the little things means you are grateful for even small advances in treatment, tiny steps forward in financial matters, and most importantly grateful to God and other people for their help in getting through the tough times. You know the depths of sorrow and it stands in stark contrast to some of the wonders of the world and the amazing people you meet. Managing to be grateful helps you find joy even in the midst of pain.
8. Pain makes you stronger.
Though it doesn’t feel like it at the time, in retrospect, you do feel a sense of strength having gone through something so difficult. Whether it’s physical or emotional pain and as difficult as it is to admit, we do feel as if we’ve overcome after we are over the worst of a particular struggle de jur. After the pain of childbirth, I don’t much worry about the pain I feel when I bang my knee. As compared with the pain of worrying about my dd’s heart condition when she was young and seeing her jaw bone through her chin when she hit the ice while skating, I wasn’t as easily frazzled when she tore a ligament in Karate. After having been through the pain of seeing her empty room when she left for college or when she spent a semester half way around the world in Russia, the sadness when she left to go to grad school in Texas didn’t seem as devastating to me.
My sister’s kids where always having high fevers and were forever getting sick. I remember talking to her about my fear when my dd’s fevers would spike and she was able to reassure me based upon her experience.
People ask me about the stress of having to replace all of my electronic devices after a lightening strike took out 18 of them back in June. I remember thinking, yeah. It’s a bit annoying having to buy and install or schedule repairs on all these items. This was a mild annoyance, but we had the money to replace them all. Having to figure out where to find the money to replace a $15 item was much more stressful!
Those of us suffering from chronic illness are pain warriors! We’ve been through it all and back again and, though we’d never knowingly ask for it, we are stronger for having had to deal with it in our lives. It’s been much easier to handle little setbacks the last several years than it was in the beginning of my journey with chronic illness. I used to immediately jump on the “freaked out” wagon. Now it takes a lot more for me to get freaked out. To paraphrase a popular meme on Facebook, my track record for getting through difficult times is unblemished. I’ve done it each and every time and God has been there every step of the way with me. It’s not too much of a leap to assume He’ll be there again and I’ll come through.
Has sanity returned to JoJo? While I’d never choose pain and I do whatever I can to alleviate it, I do count these among my blessings. If you have to have pain, at least there is something good that comes of it. “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:3-5
My debate class learned a lot that week. I’m proud of them for reaching into their hearts to see the blessings past the pain they saw in the world, in their families or inside themselves. How can YOU see the blessings in your own pain? Please share your comments/feedback here as a blog comment. And please share this blog post with others who you think will benefit by seeing the blessings in their pain.