You cannot change what has happened, you can only change how you deal with it. In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne tells us, “it’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you.”
Life is a one-way conversation with a universe that speaks but doesn’t listen. She yells in such a bellowing roar that I drown it out and retreats into the sanctuary of my mind. The struggle is an oppressive adversary, like a boa constrictor enveloping you, pausing momentarily – and then smothering you again.
Can you relate to this feeling?
I don’t want to be defined by my suffering, that’s not who I am, nor whom I intend to be. I recall a time when struggle and pain meant grazing my knee at soccer practice. The wounds eventually healed, and I was left with a faint scar to mark my fall.
Nowadays, pain lasts longer than a grazed knee. It is like being chased in a terrifying dream that never ends, stuck in an endless loop.
We are defined by our struggle and assume the identity of the wounded victim. We have no choice because life thwarts us every time we try to rise.
Garret Kramer writes in The Path of No Resistance: “All of us have experienced struggles that appeared to be the result of a certain situation, only to later ask ourselves: This situation isn’t so complicated. What in the world was troubling me?”
But here’s what I found to be the antidote to suffering: I am pushed to grow in the moments, days and weeks that follow the despair. For some, it might be years, dare I say decades for growth to be realized.
I wish I could mend your pain like my mother taking care of my grazed knee. But sometimes we must go it alone. For it was Winston Churchill who once said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
He knew pain and suffering ultimately recedes to give way to inner growth.
Wishing away the pain does nothing to cultivate grit and strength of character. The gentlest souls are those who have endured the greatest hardships and gained humility for life.
“Let us never look hardship in the face and run.
To do so is to tear ourselves from this world and this time, and to relinquish our growth and contributions in life.”