Sunday, November 8, 2015

Unexpected Lesson:Learning from Pain

Today in church we had a great lesson. The title of the lesson was "Feed my Sheep". They talked a lot about the positive influences we've had in our lives that have helped spiritually fed us. I had examples come to my mind, I really have been nurtured by SO many people throughout my life and I'm grateful for each and every one of them.

 The unexpected lesson that I came to learn was not in the lesson that was being taught from the front of the room. Sometimes that happens. While I wanted to be attentive to what the teacher had prepared, and I wanted to be uplifted by an attitude of gratitude for the positive influences in my life....I kept having flashbacks of the negative influences of my life...

 Some have called me slow to forgive. I'm pretty sure that's an accurate assessment (not that I'm proud of it). And it's not that I can't play nice with the other kids and act as though nothing ever happened, I'm getting good at that, but I sometimes have trouble not letting the pain keep hurting me.

As we were supposed to be thinking about and sharing stories of those who have loved us and guided us on the path of life, I kept thinking about the person that has never in their life met me but wrote more than 1 email about me based on something they had heard, and pronounced me essentially a waste of space. They never met me. They never knew I read those emails (I wasn't snooping, it was an accident that I came across it). They'll never know how I sometimes reflect on that, almost a decade later, and recall their words. It stings. Bad.

 I remember the time as a child that an adult that should have been nurturing me called me a degrading name. And the time a different adult rudely and falsely accused me of something I never did. This kind of thing shouldn't bother me anymore. I don't know why, but it does.

My mind bounced back and forth between the good and bad. I wish I could only remember the rose petals and forget the thorns, I'm working on that. But sometimes those thorns give us a pain or a scar that remains, and it doesn't have to be in vain.

The thing I learned today is to be careful what you say, you never know when it will stick. Choose to be an influence for the positive in someone else's life.  If someone is acting like they are a "waste of space", perhaps they need love and encouragement, even from a stranger, instead of criticism. Choose to love.  Choose to trust. 

I've come to the realization that suffering from anxiety and depression are a blessing so far as they help me be compassionate to others who suffer similarly.  The scars others have given me can serve that same purpose.  They help me to be better, to be compassionate.  I'm sorry for the pain I've caused others.  I have never been a perfect daughter/sister/wife/friend/human being, but I'll try to be better.  I feel terrible thinking that I could have or may in the future cause someone else as much pain as I feel because I was insensitive in what I say. 

So that's my challenge to you-watch you words.  And not only that, take your scars, whatever they may be.  Take whatever that is that weighs you down and find the lesson from it.  What can you gain?  We're here on this earth to learn, to grow.  Not just to be victims.

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