I am going to segue a little here from talking specifically about Job. But I am interested by the topic of pain right now, and another side of pain. The good side of pain.
“The good side of pain? What is that?” You are probably asking.
“Are you really just going to start with that ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’ stuff? Is that really all that radical, worthy of being posted on a blog called ‘underground voices.”
Yes. And no.
What I will say first is that I have come to realize that my suffering, at times, brings me joy, pleasure. I know it’s weird. You may not be able to relate to what I’m saying at all.
You see, my pain is like a mild throbbing one that every once in a while flares up because my spirit grows incredibly weak. It’s not a root canal, just a lingering little thing hanging over me. it’s only a big deal because I make it a big deal in my mind.
So I don’t have a tragic tale of woe about how I was sold by pirates. But I do experience feelings of loneliness and inadequacy on a daily, hourly, minutely basis. Often, these feelings breed bitterness, anger, jealousy. But at the same time, there is something else going on. My feelings bring me joy. Bittersweet, profound joy that I can’t even describe in words. The knowledge that I will be misunderstood for the foreseeable future, and what’s more, that I thrive in seclusion, and what’s more… that it’s okay.
Shocking, I realize. Masochistic, I know it sounds that way. Why do I feel disposed to cry tears of joy when I hear beautiful, melodic love songs, while thinking about how there’s a very good chance that no one will ever feel that way about me? Am I just out of my mind?
But what’s even more hard to explain is how these good feelings can coexist with the bitter ones. I once read in “Jesus Calling,” the Spanish version, that we should thank God for our sufferings. That’s a pretty crazy thought. So I find that sometimes I am doing that, but at the very same moment, also thinking to myself, “And they say these are the best years of our lives” (True story- I once saw that written on a bathroom wall).
So pain to me is a dichotomy of, well, pain, of course, and joy. I guess life is full of dichotomies. God Himself is a dichotomy (eg. Loving and wrathful, etc.). It’s not a contradiction. It just proves that life is complicated. I guess you can tell that I just love using the word dichotomy. I hope I actually know what it means…
When I stop and think about it, I do see the reasons for my circumstances. I see the way that having a void gives me the opportunity to fill it with God… or not (No, God’s not just a crutch like so many other things, it happens to be the real deal). I see that my life can’t be perfect, and even if it pretty much was, i would still want more. I see that I don’t need to get what I want to be happy/successful/worthwhile. And yes, it has made me stronger.
The trouble is, I don’t always remember that, and I don’t always feel that way, even if I use that logic in my brain. We’ve all heard a million times that pain makes us stronger. Maybe some of us have even heard the thing about “thanking God for your trials.” But it’s hard to do it in practice. That’s really what it comes down to.