The Pain-free life

3 07 2008

(Be prepared for a hodge-podge of thoughts…)

“We none of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”- Persuasion

The subject of pain and hardship is one that I have been thinking much of lately. God once told me that my life would not be easy, but it would be an adventure. When he said that I got really excited. Somehow, in my head, if I admitted that it was going to be hard/was hard, it would suddenly become easy.

Let me try and explain that better. Have you ever been talking to a doctor and had them say “Oh it’s just pneumonia” like that was supposed to help? The ‘diagnosis is not a synonym for cure’ syndrome. That’s how I’ve felt about the hard times in my life. If I admit that it is difficult, it should cease to be so. It’s taken me about five years to clue in that that is not quite how it works.

Even in the relatively sheltered life of a suburban American girl, life presents one with choices. There is the easy road; less profitable and certainly more comfortable than the alternative. The alternative, you see, is a road where one is often alone, where the choices we make cost us something. It rather painful a good chunk of the time. However, along that road is Joy. “Pleasure, as someone once said, “is not Joy, and lust is not Love”. One is easy but fleeting, the other is eternal.

On a slight side note, I am continually shocked at the American capactity to insulate oneself from pain. Comfort at any cost seems to be the new American dream. And it’s not just physical comfort. Heaven forbid that you love someone enough that they can hurt you! What a tragedy it would be to think long and hard about how difficult life is for most of the people on the planet. Did you know there are children dying of starvation? Real children, not pictures on a billboard. Maybe if we could pause long enough to absorb that truth, we might be uncomfortable enough to do something about it. 

That’s not to say that we should seek out people who will hurt us, or jump off of bridges just for the adventure of it. But maybe it does mean turning the other cheek just long enough to get a black eye, or risking personal safety a little when we learn a new skill.

Because, as much as the advertising world would love you to think so, pain isn’t fatal and a broken heart is not terminal. Even hunger won’t actually hurt you. So maybe we can try loving each other a little more or going on that adventure or even not having the four cookies just because they are there.

Comfort isn’t the answer. And Joy can be found in any circumstance.




2 responses

3 07 2008
mother Smith

my girls can write!

3 07 2008
Jennifer James

I thought this was a very well articulated post. Comfort and our seeking of it CONSTANTLY really speaks to where we are before God, ya know? I like your writings…

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