Light among the pain.

Show Me The Pain

Light among the pain.

If only I could escape. If only I could ignore this person. But she’s my wife.

While waiting for the train to arrive, we got into an argument. It’s my fault, but I won’t admit it. My shoulders tense. I glance about the platform — anything to avoid looking at her. We stand side by side, separated by a chasm of inches.

Then a friend arrives.

“How are you doing?” he asks.

“Doing fine,” I reply. A big smile covers my face.

Beneath the surface, nothing changed. The disagreement with my wife still remains. Yet I don’t show any of it to my friend. I mask my struggle.

Later, after my wife and I resolve the argument, I wonder about the incident. Why am I so quick to pretend everything’s alright — that nothing is wrong in my life? Why do I close myself to others? What would life be like if we were honest more often? What if we shared our struggles and our pain?


show me the pain
the suffering
the struggle
show me yourself

Tell me you’re human.

Tell me there’s more to you than the casual “fine” you answer when asked how you’re doing. For I know what that answer means. I know the unspoken words beneath the surface: “I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to be vulnerable.”

How many times have I used that response? How many times have I not revealed the struggle beneath the calm surface? It seems easier to move on. It’s convenient to pretend the world is fine — even when it’s not.

But the world isn’t always fine. The struggle is part of being human. It’s real.

Is there something behind the mask of perfection? Or have we worn the masks so long we think that’s who we actually are? Have we forgotten how to share who we are with others?

show me the pain
the suffering
the struggle
show me yourself

Tell me I’m not alone.

Am I the only one who falls short — who finds victory snatched from grasping hands? Am I the only one who stumbles into the dust? Am I the only one whose courage fails? Am I the only one who doubts? These moments so often make up my story.

Tell me the hardship of your story. How have you tripped up? How are you imperfect? What mistakes have you made? Give me hope. Don’t leave me to face my failures alone.

show me the pain
the suffering
the struggle
show me yourself

Tell me the trouble has a meaning.

Struggle is the measure of character. When faced with the rejection of graduate school, the storm broke me, and I had to re-evaluate who I was. Yet when my grandfather passed away, I had enough strength to embrace the hurt.

Pain is the test of my practice. Can I continue it in moments of hardship? When someone injures me, can I still show love?

It is as the African proverb says: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

show me the pain
the suffering
the struggle
show me yourself

Tell me how you triumphed.

Maybe your life is good right now. Maybe the darkest times are behind you. If so, give thanks for those blessings, turn around, and help your brothers and sisters.

Someone — possibly even me — faces the same difficulty you once faced. Will you share what you know? Will you offer your experience, your wisdom, and your understanding? You have the answers. You have the questions.

And in helping another find peace, you’ll find peace. In offering healing, you’ll heal too.

show me the pain
the suffering
the struggle
show me yourself

Tell me you’ll seek the help of others.

I often pretend I’m strong enough to face the challenge alone. But I’m not. I’m dependent on other people. Maybe you need help too.

Maybe you need someone to listen — so you can unload your burdens. Often, all we really long for is to be heard.

Maybe you need someone to speak from their experience, their wisdom and their understanding. They can touch your wounds with the balm of gentleness and love.

Then you can walk upright again. Then you can return to peace.

show me the pain
the suffering
the struggle
show me yourself

Tell it here. We’ll listen. Maybe we can even help. We are a community. We’re here for each other.

What are you struggling with?

I’ll start.

###

7 thoughts on “Show Me The Pain”

  1. I struggle with seeking the help of others. Yes, I know I need their help. Yes, I know I can’t do it alone. Yes, I know their experience is far beyond mine. But I still hesitate.

    Part of it comes from the feeling I know what I should be doing (and often I do actually know), and therefore *should* be able to do it myself. But the problem isn’t usually one of knowledge. It’s usually psychological.

    And yes, I probably wrote this post for myself.

  2. And you wrote it for me. I want to document this journey I’m on, but I haven’t started – yet. After reading this, I packed my recording gear for tomorrow.

    Knowing what to do is only the start. How to do it, having the courage to do it and knowing others care is even more important. Thank you for being one of the people who listens and offers advice and cares when I tell my story.

  3. Many a times I glare at something, but my concentration is not there. I struggle with pain within me which could not be pain as such to another because of our different priority in issues and uniqueness. Pains double when a sharing is done and no help offered, one wondering whether to share it or not next time. However, God has given us gifts of people who carry burdens with us when shared and we ought to make maximum use of these people and surprisingly ‘the bright army’ is one of these rare and unique gifts.
    It pains when resources are not well utilised but when the expression of it is communicated without care, a lot of harm is done so even in pain, we ought to communicate it discerningly so that to get best results to both parties.

    1. Josephine, That’s the risk of sharing the pain – that no one will respond and offer help. Sometimes though, even if nobody responds, the act of opening up and being vulnerable is itself the start toward healing.

      Thank you for all you share with this community.

  4. We become teachers for that which we wish to most desperately learn, ourselves. So, it makes sense that what we write, preach, speak, and share with the world are the very topics that we are longing to better learn and understand, ourselves.

    Better yet, opening up like this invites others to learn, themselves. 🙂

    1. Dave, Very much so. I continue to find my strongest work happens when I touch to the nerves of my experience and struggle. If I’m vulnerable, then others can be too.

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