Monday, 14 March 2016

Purpose in Pain

We all experience pain in some form or other, but living with chronic pain for 8 years has caused me to question many times why I need to experience it. 

I'm a firm believer that there's purpose to this life and that there's a reason for everything, but pain all day-everyday can feel like a punishment and I end up wondering whatever it was I did wrong! 

Haruki Murakami wrote "I can bear any pain as long as it has meaning." And I feel like that - give me a purpose and I'll do my best to endure it. When I'm in the midst of PEM (post exertional malaise) and the pain feels more intense than usual, however, I struggle to find meaning for it. 

John Keats said "Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?" 

Orson F Whitney said something similar when he wrote "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer … builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God". 

What good are we if we're not improving and growing through life? Pain is an intensive training course and no one is immune, each one of us suffers in one way or another.

Life would be pretty boring if it was all plain sailing. You can't appreciate happiness if you don't know sadness. Harlan Ellison explains it well "know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned."

Furthermore, enduring pain and suffering enables us to be greater friends. We become more sensitive to the pains of others and more aware of their needs.

Yet pain can also be so isolating. Though it's my belief that we don't have to go through this alone. "We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word." (Henry B Eyring.)

I'm inspired every day by those of you who endure so much, you're example helps spur me on. 
How do you get through each day? Does anything help you find meaning in your 'pain and troubles'? Share your experiences in the comments below.