Suffering is a part of our world. It is one of the few guarantees for every life. The degree of suffering varies greatly but we all experience pain, heartache, fear, neglect, and the list goes on.
I have lived a relatively blessed life, and most of the suffering I have experienced has been at my own hand; poor judgment, selfish decisions, making the same mistakes with increasing confidence. So, you might be asking yourself, “Why write about something you have little experience with?” I’m about to tell you.
My journey through life has brought me into the lives of some fantastic people, individuals who have stared pain and uncertainty in the eyes and defiantly pressed through so much darkness. I’ve watched my best friend face a disease that will undoubtedly take his life, but he does so with grace and dignity. I have seen people die from cancer and marveled as they passed to the other side without fear. Friends who have endured the pain and disappointment of divorce, others whose marriages have survived seemingly insurmountable struggles.
There are so many people who have taught me so much—hosts of lessons in each chapter of their stories. But the one that stands out the most, the lesson of most vital importance is this: There is power in our pain.
These people have learned to suffer well, and in doing so, they have helped me and many others gain a perspective that is often lacking in our world. The strongest of individuals are those who don’t shy away from the pain of this life but let the fire refine them making them stronger because of the pain they have endured.
Ernest Hemingway once said, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
When someone can embrace the shadows and press on in spite of the darkness they’re facing; they give rise to a new understanding in those who walk with them. All who encounter such people are given the opportunity to discover a new perspective—that there is always hope and there is always a choice. Circumstances can and will shape us, but we always have a say in how the shaping occurs. Life may break us, but we have a say in how the broken pieces are mended.
I hope and pray that when my turn comes that I will stand strong, and as the waves come and the defining circumstances threaten to wear away parts of me, that I will remember that I have a say in how the shaping occurs, that I will remember there is power in my pain.