Pain, the fabric softener of life

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“Lord, help us to accept the pains and conflicts that come to us each day as opportunities to grow as people and become more like you.” Mother Teresa, A Gift for God (Artwork by Kelly Rae Roberts)

In her caretaking role over the past few years, a friend visibly softened while dealing with her mom’s demands during declining health.

I hated what I witnessed both women going through. Yet, I treasured how acceptance and allowing others closer became a part of my friend’s life. Too exhausted to judge, she set that aside, which made our time together more gentle.

Unfortunately, after her mom died, my friend reverted back and seemed harsher than before.

Pain’s like that. It has a way with us.

It shows no favoritism and leaves no choice but to change. We all feel it and we all choose our responses. We either become bitter or we soften in its aftershock.

I suspect that is one of pain’s purposes, to give us a chance to get better.

Author Hannah Hurnard in her book, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, illustrates poignantly how sorrow and suffering are analogous to joy and peace. Hurnard’s character Much-Afraid learns from her woes and takes an upward journey to high places – the same journey of our lives, when we’re willing.

How do you react to pain?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Since pain is a part of life, let’s make the best of it and let it make us the best we can be.

On the side: Post by artist Kelly Rae Roberts about kindness and softening.

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Dying To Love

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“Even though I’d give anything to have her back, I’d never go back to the person I was before I lost my daughter.”  Anonymous, Artwork by Cindy DeLuz

“Even though I’d give anything to have her back, I’d never go back to the person I was before I lost my daughter.” Anonymous (Artwork by Cindy DeLuz)

In the last month, my mom died.

A friend/former colleague died.

And, early yesterday morning, I received a phone call about a friend’s 31-year-old daughter who died.

Yesterday was the second Sunday morning my friend has been awakened around 4 a.m. with news of losing a child. Her son died in a car accident some years ago.

I don’t claim to know how she feels or what to say or how to help. However, after we talked, I understand more about the necessity of loss.

Without losing, I’m not sure we can grasp loving.

Death is the harsh half of bittersweet. It’s the yin of yin and yang. It’s the ultimate pain of our journey, but it’s also the ultimate wakeup call, even if, like my friend, it’s not the call we hoped for.

During our conversation last evening, the tone of my friend’s voice, as well as her words, expressed tenderness like I’ve never heard in a counseling session or sermon. Not that she won’t get angry and experience moments of questioning God, but she’s got hold of something that some of us never do. She said she was crazy and probably would be for a while.

All I could think was, “Crazy in love.”

And I can relate some. Since Mom’s and my friend’s deaths, I have more lovingly reflected and intensely missed them than in all the years they lived. Death, if we let it, brings to the forefront our own tenderness.

Whose death has left you at a loss so much so that it also changed you?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Often I have posted what a counselor said when she asked if I felt like I was dying, “You’re really being born.” I believe dealing with death is often a birth into deeper love.

Related post: Pain, the fabric softener of life

On the side: Click here for more artwork by Cindy DeLuz.