Pain is the price of freedom.
Spirituality is present when you are ready to pay that price for freeing yourself of your pain. When you are comfortable with the pain, and can allow it to pass through you. It will hurt. It will burn you and may even send you reeling. But it is better to allow that pain to come and express itself fully, with you aware that it is there, than to push it away from you and never acknowledge it.
Imagine that your mother is dying, but you don’t know it. You have no idea. But your sister, with whom you have a horrible relationship, has called to tell you. Now, you love your mother but you loathe your sister. So, you see her calling but you decide not to answer because you want to punish her still, for something she did so long ago that you can’t remember. She keeps calling and leaving messages but you don’t even listen to them. You block her from your phone because she won’t stop.
A few days pass and finally another family member calls and says that your mother has died. You are hurt and sad and frustrated that you didn’t know. They tell you that your sister has tried to call you several times but couldn’t reach you. You then feel ashamed that you let your old grudge get in the way of the love you had for your mother. You’re mad and distraught that she died before you got a chance to say goodbye, just because you were stubborn.
If you would have just allowed your sister that call, you could have embraced all the pain that you would have felt anyway and still had a chance to talk to your mother before she died. In your avoidance, you caused even more pain to yourself.
We have to allow our pain its due. We cannot hide from it because it will fester into something even more painful. It’s like cancer when left untreated, except it doesn’t kill you physically. It provides a more heinous result: mental and spiritual anguish. This kind of torture is something that haunts a life and grasps hold of all that is good, ruining relationships and stunting your spiritual growth.
Let it burn now. In my struggles I was just like this. I pushed things away that hurt me, or even those that I thought would hurt me. I refused to listen to my friends and family that told me I was wrong. I even allowed my pain to subvert the health of my relationship, nearly destroying my marriage. The pain I caused my wife, God help me, was nearly irreparable. But when I finally started to embrace that pain and see what I had done to her, only then was I able to heal our relationship and myself. It was so painful hearing that I’d caused her so much pain, that eventually I had to go to therapy. It was so bad at times I just fought with her about it, refusing to acknowledge her very valid concerns. My need for control was out of control, if you understand what I’m saying.
I wanted to avoid what I had done. I needed to maintain the picture of someone who did things for valid reasons. I wanted to justify my bad behavior. All of it was just a vehicle for hiding from myself, fearing that exposing my true problems would make me a pariah of sorts. But in my weakness, God makes me strong. I was made whole by just yielding to that pain.
We are all broken individuals, struggling through life, trying to make it work. Not one of us is truly special. We are just people, trying to be loved by people. People with pain and scars and misdeeds. Human. Don’t avoid who you are because you’re afraid of what someone else will think.
Let that pain burn through you and be cleansed like iron in fire.