Or does it? Secretly don't we all hope for a life filled with nothing but sunlit beaches, buckets of success, and more love than we know what do with? But after awhile where would that take us? What role does pain actually play in our lives? In our growth?
For me pain is often a signal, telling me to slow down and pay attention. It is an opportunity for growth. And more than anything else, it is a reminder to get out of my head (it can be dangerous in there!) and back to life again.
And truly, doesn't most of our pain start in our minds anyways? Most of my anguish is not caused by physical injury. I can sit alone on a mountain top, staring at a beautiful sunrise, and feel ultimate bliss. Put me in that same spot the next day, with nothing different except an unbridled imagination, and watch me create deep levels of sorrow, anxiety, loss, and yes, pain.
There are, of course, real reasons why circumstances will cause suffering. To deny that is to deny reality. More often than not, though, I find that when I am feeling sorrow it is because I am dredging up thoughts from the past, or worrying about the future. Silly girl.
It is one of the reasons why I am such a big fan of Rachel's. This woman, and ultimately her spirit, never let pain, discouragement, or loss get in the way of what she wanted. When she was offered a path to eternal freedom from all pain she chose instead to stay and be close to her Leo. Later in the story she once again steadfastly resolved to never give up, to patiently wait for happiness and re-connection to present itself.
She's my hero. I want to be more like her.
Here's a quick snip-it from her journey. Without giving away too much of the novel's story line I can share that she faced heartache over the loss of Leo on more than one occasion. She could have chosen the easy way out for sure. She could have proclaimed "This is just too hard. I'm done." and moved on. Yet she never considered for a second the path of least resistance. She was resolved.
One day he was there, close enough to see, real enough to feel, filling her soul once more with warmth and desire. Seeing her joy and returning her smile. Finally ready to move on and never leave each other’s side again. The next day, painfully, inexplicably, gone.
Rachel heard the words “No!” and “Why?” repeated over and over again without relief. It was as if these two simple monosyllables were riders stuck on a giant Ferris wheel that had suddenly lost its ability to brake. Every few seconds – there they were again. No. Why? “Knock it off already.” she thought to herself. “Now is not the time to crumble. We found him once, we’ll find him again.”
Rachel had to discover a way to transfer her resolve to another, to plant the seed of longing and unrest that she had carried with her for decades. The desire that helped her track down Leo once, and that now made it impossible to move on without him. “We won’t give up. I promise.”
I won't give up either. Because I ...
Believe in forever.