“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt”. A beautiful and at the same time difficult line from the movie ‘The fault in our stars’ based on the book with the same name by author John Green.

If only these words were not true. We max out our credit cards at the temple of the mall to fill the void. We turn to social media to curb our loneliness. We bury ourselves in work, sport, social engagements and even religious activities. We would much rather avoid the pain, than to feel it.

On 13 April 2013 my father passed away 3 days after my birthday. On the day that he was admitted to hospital, I met with a spiritual director to embark on the Spiritual Exercises, a yearlong journey based on the work of Ignatius. In our follow-up meeting a month later, my spiritual director reminded me that there is ‘no getting over or around pain. You can only go through the pain.’ In the wisdom tradition it is emphatically stated that there is only two paths to transformation – through great love or great suffering. Suffering has a way of bolting us awake from our sleep, to see things in a new way and change from the inside out.

We do not always know the reason or source of our suffering. I firmly trust that God is the giver of good gifts, and that God is touched by our pain. I find hope in Jesus invitation to ‘not run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how”. (Luke 9:24)

May you, as you embrace your pain, may you become aware of theembrace of the One that calls you friend.

[Written for Day 19 of the 30 day Writers Bootcamp project @writersbootcmp ]

Image from Flickr under Creative Commons License

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