Right now, a lot of people that I know are in pain. They hurt. Their lives are falling apart. They’re scared. Lonely. Frightened. And for many, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of the world is in pain.
Sometimes, the pain is our own creation. Sometimes it’s brought on us unjustly from outside sources. Sometimes it’s both. And in all cases, it hurts. Usually, a lot.
It’s hard for me to watch people in pain – for conflicted reasons. Sometimes, I think we need pain. And it can be hard for me to tell someone I care about that their pain is deserved, or serves a larger purpose. It must be how it is with the gods, sometimes. They love us (on the by and large). They want what is best for us (on the by and large). And yet, sometimes, they have to inflict pain upon us, or let us burn our hands on the proverbial stove. Why? Because sometimes people are stupid. Sometimes we have to hurt in order to really learn or grow.
Whenever life throws things my way, I always try to consider what purpose this could serve me long term. How might this pain and frustration be helping me to grow? I know that in our society, pain is feared and generally is to be avoided. But really- sometimes if it doesn’t sting bad enough, we’ll just go right back and do it again without any other considerations. And many times, when things are falling apart, there are other lessons that can be gleaned from the situation.
To illustrate this, allow me to pull from one of the worst years of my life.
I was living in Vegas. I could feel that the rug was going to be pulled out from under me. Sat likes to talk about how she sometimes is running towards a cliff- but can’t stop. At that time, I could see the cliff. I had been warned in dream, through runes, and in feeling that my job- my livelihood would soon end. And not just for me, but for the person I lived with, too. And I buried my head in the sand. No way! That wouldn’t happen!
And then, the floor fell out.
I was left without work. As was the other person making money in my household. We had no income at all. No severance pay, and no recourse to unemployment. We were surviving purely off of our savings. And despite my pleas and attempts to find work (in literally every state west of Ohio), nothing worked. Nothing was happening. I became unemployed in early May, and stayed that way all the way through to September. I watched as all of my hard earned savings ran out. I had to swallow my pride and fear and move back into my parents. I lost furniture. I lost fish in the move. I lost a lot of things. And I couldn’t see it getting any better.
But then! I got a job. We both got a job! On the same day as the interview! A miracle, right?!
Well, sort of. Shortly after my new job, I got the same nagging feeling of “the floor, it’s going to fall through”. And it was a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. Within a few months of being there, I lost my job again. As did the other person I lived with. So not only did we lose most of our savings from the Vegas debacle, we lost even more from having to get a new apartment in a new city, only to have to shut down the lease early because our managers couldn’t manage worth a damn, and the company went under. And once again, I found myself back at my parents. I had a new job, but everything stung. I was in a place I hated. My relationship at the time was falling apart (and would end spectacularly within a few months). And I was just so bitter at everything.
I was in a lot of pain.
However, despite this pain, a lot of good occurred. A lot of beautiful seeds were sewn. I could see glimpses of how I might be making strides to something better, but it was incredibly hard to believe it at the time. I felt I was deluding myself into thinking that things were better than they were. But in retrospect, I owe a lot of what I have to that time of languish. Here are a couple examples:
First off, do you like reading what I write? If you do, you should be thankful that I was unemployed as long as I was. My time of unemployment lasted nearly 5 months. Had it been any shorter, I would not have taken strides to join the Kemetic community at all. It was only right before I moved back to my parents house that I decided I should go talk to others. I mean, I had nothing else to do- so why not. I firmly believe that if I had gotten a job sooner, I would not be here writing to you now.
Second, having such a long time off helped me to seriously work on my portfolio. I gained a lot of new skills while I tried desperately to expand my portfolio and skills so that I could apply to new work.
I also found that I am stronger than I thought- I was able to move back to my parents house and survive it.
I gained skills from the short job that I had that helped me to get my next job- the one I still have to this day. And my horrible failure to find work after my previous job fell through taught me to keep my portfolio up to date and ready to go- in case things fell apart. The pain of my previous situation allowed me to hit the ground running when my second job fell through- which is partially how I was able to find work so quickly.
And my relationship that ended- was a good thing. It opened me up to finding an even better relationship. Having my mother’s house as the location for that relationship to manifest was a blessing in disguise- because we really had to focus on working together and sticking it out together despite my living situation. Had the previous jobs not pushed everyone to a breaking point, who is to say if that relationship would have ever ended. Him leaving has been a huge blessing for me.
All of these things needed pain to occur. They needed stagnation, frustration, anger and sorrow. I needed to really get down and dirty with my negative emotions in order for good things to really manifest later. As an added bonus of going through that, I now know that I am tough as nails. I can look fear in the face daily and still figure out a way to keep moving. I learned that despite how dark and dreary life may be- you are never truly out of the game. There is always the potential for new growth, for bigger and better things. It tempered my will and strengthened my resolve to go through that. And I think that pain can be that way for many people- if you let it. Pain can be a good teacher. It can really show us how strong we are. It can show us what we are truly capable of. It can sew the seeds of growth, even if we don’t realize it at first.
I think we could all benefit from examining our pain, to see what it could be teaching us, what we could be learning from it. Perhaps the next time you find yourself wallowing in pain, take a look around and see if it might be helping you.