Pain can express itself in an assortment of different ways and can be caused by nearly anything. The realization of a struggling loved one can cause just as much pain as a broken finger or cut leg. Our own regrets can just as easily cause us pain as a fall down the stairs. Although each feeling of pain has its own unique sting, they all have one common characteristic—it means you are alive.
My wife has struggled with depression for many years, and although I know that depression involuntarily alters one’s view of the world, I have told my wife a number of times that I struggle to comprehend depression because I love life. This doesn’t mean that I’m in love with all of its trials, or that I love hearing bad news about loved ones, or that I enjoy dropping a 50 pound steel pulley block on my foot from six feet above. (True story.) But I do love that once those trials are over, once my loved ones have moved past their struggles, and once the pain in my foot subsides (one year later), I get to see the leaves on the trees change color. I get to see the sun rise in the morning. I get to see the frost on the grass. I get to see the mist over the nearby ponds.
The one pain that seems to cast a dark shadow over all of the experiences I love, however, is when my children suffer from their own pain whatever the cause. Hearing the doctor state in a panicked tone that he needed to hurry with the delivery because Addie’s cord was wrapped around her neck caused me so much fear. Watching Addie come home crying after being bullied by the neighborhood boys caused me pain and it STILL causes me pain now. Watching an almost two year old Addie being taken away by an anesthesiologist in preparation for her surgery brought about pain that I didn’t even know could exist. Recently, my wife and I were caused several days of fear and pain when Vivi had digestive struggles after birth and the doctors feared that she would have a major medical problem. It is difficult to justify the pain that accompanies these types of trials; however, Drew Magary, of Deadspin’s Dadspin, recently wrote, “[i]f you love something so much that the idea of losing it could bring you to a whole new dimension of suffering, well then that love is a blessing.” Mr. Magary relays a very important message that we must integrate into our pain and we must come to understand.
If I did not feel pain as my children struggled through their trials, how much could I possibly love them? The deeper my pain? The deeper my love. The deeper my love? The more joy and happiness I experience from my children. Although I knock on wood as I write this blogpost and I hope that no major trials are on my children’s horizon, I also understand that the pain that comes along with those trials is important and is a blessing. Pain is important because it shows us how important the little things in life are, and, more importantly, shows us just how deeply we love those we care about.
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