that’s right, I’m continuing what I started in the earlier post, “when less is more”. I just can’t help myself. (am I helpless?) but I’m thinking it’s good to be tireless in whatever we are doing, better than to be full of tire or tireful. Tireless is defined as being hard-working, zealous, determined, tenacious, not giving up; all good things. I want to live tireless, rather than full of tiredness, discouragement and defeat. Here “less” is “more”.
I want to live shameless, not shameful. Shame is a heavy burden to carry through life. Christ didn’t mean for us to live full of shame, He came to take that burden from us. Here again, “less” is “more”; throw off everything that hinders and travel light through this life. Which brings me to weightless and waitless. I think I would choose both over weightful and waitful. Maybe it’s just my heart that I want to be weightless, not weighed down by the cares of this world which at times become a crushing weight, too heavy to carry on my own. And waitless would be wonderful, now wouldn’t it? Imagine being without the wait in traffic, in store checkout lines, in doctors’ offices, in airports, on hold on the phone, etc. This “less” would definitely be “more”, more time for . . . well, you fill in the blank.
Which brings me to painless. Of course I want to live a painless life, not a painful one. Who would choose a life full of pain over a life without pain? But if my life is painless, I have to ask myself, am I alive? am I living or merely existing? I instinctively seek to avoid pain at all costs, both physical and emotional. Yet it is pain that reminds me I am alive. Physical pain reassures me that I am still among the living just as emotional pain confirms to me that I am human, that I am capable of feeling not only my own pain but the pain of others as well.
This is a gift, a gift our pain bestows on us that we do not discover until the pain subsides and with the low tide of our heart’s hurt, pain’s gift is revealed. This gift, previously hidden in the waves of our pain, is now uncovered for us to claim as our own. This gift, left there for us on a beach laid bare with the brokenness of our own heart’s grief, is our unexpected reward, replacing what the pain has stolen from us. The gift of empathy for all hurting souls. The gift of being fully connected in our suffering to all who suffer and therefore the gift of being fully alive. This is the gift of my pain. This is the gift of your pain to you.
Physical pain is a lesser pain than emotional pain and is the more easily treated. We can take medicine for our muscular aches and pains, headaches etc. and usually get a good result. Emotional pain is much more devastating, debilitating and more difficult to treat. We do have medicines to help, but there is really no cure for a broken heart. And our hearts are broken more often than we would care to admit. Our lives are full of loss, this is the price we pay for letting others into our lives. The pain of loss is sharp but it beats the alternative, the pain of isolation in an attempt to keep from ever having to suffer loss.
After a workout at the gym I feel all kinds of aches and pains I didn’t feel before. They are a signal to me that I am still alive, (I have survived the workout) and that I am in the process of becoming stronger and more physically fit. Pain is part of the process, it is a price I am willing to pay. When my heart hurts I am assured that it is still working, even in its’ broken state. I still have the ability to feel, my heart has not turned to stone.
The only way to go through life pain free is to go through life numb or with a heart of stone. In our culture, which tells us we should avoid pain at all costs, we do everything we can to live a painless life and the cost is high. Self medicating so as to “feel no pain” results in all kinds of life long addictions to alcohol, pain killers and multiple other legal and illegal drugs. This is a high price to pay just to avoid feeling pain.
The thing is, if I can’t feel pain then I also can’t feel joy or love or hope or comfort or anything good. I don’t choose pain, it finds me just as it finds you, dear readers. I wouldn’t choose pain but I have to admit that it’s been pain in my life that provides me the opportunity to grow closer to other people and to God. It’s pain that teaches me empathy and compassion. It’s pain that connects me to the hurting hearts of others. It is pain that forces me beyond myself. It is pain that forces me to change and to grow.
If I can’t feel my own pain then I can’t feel another person’s pain. If I don’t acknowledge my own pain, I won’t be able to acknowledge another person’s pain. If I numb myself to my own pain, I will be oblivious to the suffering of those around me as well. And if I am oblivious to their sufferings, then I cannot share them. I cannot show them care and compassion. Compassion requires of me the ability to feel another’s hurt as if it were my own. My pain has a purpose, a greater purpose beyond myself.
Living with a broken heart is preferable to living with a heart of stone. I know as I walk in this world with my heart broken, it’s my Heavenly Father who fills the broken places and the empty spaces with His abiding, sustaining, all sufficient love. Brokenness makes room for His presence. A heart of stone feels no pain and lets no one in. A heart of flesh will be bruised and battered and broken but its owner will experience the beauty God brings from such a heart that is fully His.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
sincerely, Grace Day