Good Pain

Hi, good to see you again.

I have no idea why I am tackling this topic on a Monday morning.  It just popped into my mind so here I am pecking away talking about… pain.  Of all the things pleasant things in the world, I come up with pain.

I heard an interesting story on the news the other day.  It was about a young boy that didn’t feel any physical pain. 

At first glance I wondered the significance of the condition that warranted a news story.  But oh my!  The boy never knew when he hurt himself.  He would cut himself, step on something, touch a burner on the stove… and never knew it.

The parents would have to routinely examine the child during the day to see if he had injured himself.

This story sparked a quizzical banter in my head.  Scary huh?  Yep, you should have heard all the ruckus as I wrestled with the dynamic and reality of pain.

The amazing thing about pain is that everyone has an opinion because we all have experience with it.  Experience tends to make experts of us all.

The reality of pain creates an interesting paradox.  Pain is both good and bad.  In fact, one can build a larger case for pain than against pain.

I believe that most people think that the presence of pain to some degree in life is a good thing.  But if it is a good thing, why do we avoid it? 

Well, maybe because… it H U R T S !

I don’t know, call me silly, but I don’t like to hurt.  In fact I try to avoid things that are painful, uncomfortable and inconvenient. 

But I also know the value and importance of pain.  In balance the good from pain far exceeds the bad.  As I said earlier, for me pain tends to fall into two camps – good and bad.

Bad pain tends to be that which is self inflicted by poor decisions, selfishness or downright stupidity.  Some can make the argument that one learns from that type of pain.  Yes, I think that is true but I still believe there is some pain that is absolutely unnecessary.

There is also good pain.  In a strange sort of way pain not only lets us know that we are alive but where we are alive.

The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.

-         Lord Byron          

 

We are made to feel… feel physically and emotionally.  We are created to feel deeply, powerfully and passionately.  “Feeling” is a good thing.  Yes, you guessed it; feelings get us in trouble too. 

I tend to think that’s where pain comes in.  Pain keeps us calibrated with reality and helps us avoid those excesses that damage.   Pain causes us to back off where it’s dangerous and pinpoints the spots that need tending to.

Then there are times when we invite pain.  We intentionally engage in something that we know is painful. 

It is those unique points of clarity where we decide that the cost of pain is worth the reward that follows.  Pain is part of the process or path that takes us where we want and need to go. 

There has never been a great athlete who died not knowing what pain is.

- Bill Bradley

 

We all could add several examples to Bill Bradley’s list.  But one example that comes immediately to mind is anyone who experiences the joy of a great loving relationship.  To know that level of joy requires the pain of having difficult conversations, addressing hard issues, and being vulnerable. 

I would say that anything worthwhile, powerful, and good in ones life requires times of chosen pain.

A Weird Truth:  Most bad pain in life comes from not being willing to engage in good pain at the right time.

That which is escaped now is pain to come.

- Ancient Proverb

 

Knowing that pain is good for me doesn’t make me like it anymore.  It’s just that this knowledge helps me understand life’s process of getting to those places I want to go and allows me to embrace pain a bit more readily. 

Thanks for hanging out with me.

See you Thursday.

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