With all of the pressing needs and complex issues in our society, life can seem overwhelming. The power of one seems diminished when looking into the eye of poverty, dementia, cancer, autism, war, and social injustice just to name a few.
I remember when staying at a bed and breakfast, very pregnant with my 4th child, Howard and I found ourselves engaged in a conversation with an older couple. I was sharing my story about Gentry. The woman, obviously in pain, stopped me abruptly to say that, “everyone has a story”. In sharing mine, I was not meaning to minimize hers. Truly each of our lives could be projected onto a big screen to a captive audience. It is up to us to share our stories so that, when the fight of our lives comes, we can wrestle with the pain and squeeze the nectar from the struggle. I believe pain has something to teach. I also believe pain is what connects humanity. Pain reminds us that it is no respecter of persons. How we respond to it drastically changes us, for better or worse.
How does this change occur? What is one single person to do? I find peace when I look at my corner of the world: my family, then my community. There is plenty of work to do right there and this small corner seems manageable, even impactful. I would encourage everyone to look at what life has administered to them…what challenge it has brought. Each of us will have a unique opportunity to grow introduced to us at some point in life. Recognize that your situation is not unique to you: you are not alone. Find your community, join hands, then forces. Together change is possible.
A dear friend sent me a quote by CS Lewis this week that is so simple yet so true:
“We can ignore pleasure. But pain insists being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
I could not agree more. Pain is a megaphone. The question is, will if deafen and defeat you or instruct and guide you? Let pain change (not define) you then use that change and clean up your corner of the world.