When the Loss is Too Heavy

Pain – we all have an aversion to it. We avoid it at all costs, both for ourselves and for our loved ones. But there’s a really big problem with having an aversion to pain:

It’s inevitable.

There is so much in life that we cannot control, so much we don’t get a say in. And when this is true of unpleasant circumstances, in particular, the load seems much harder to carry.

But as unpleasant as it is and as much as I subconsciously try to stay as far away from it as I can, I am consistently reminded that pain is one of the best teachers. As unwelcome as it is, it sure has a way of forcing itself into life and finding a way to deepen my ability to feel, to love, to connect.

Though we may not be able to see it in the thick of the hard times, what’s happening when we experience something terrible, something awful, something so raw and seemingly unbearable that all we can bring ourselves to do is simply be, we gain the ability to connect to other people in a way that we weren’t able to before.

{This is two-fold.}

As the recipient of such love, pain is a vehicle to being honest and letting others in, and that can be extremely hard to do. It’s often tempting to hide behind the day-to-day of life, to stay busy so that no one becomes suspicious of what’s happening on the inside of your human shell. But what we fail to realize is that when we do that, when we don’t let people in, we are robbing ourselves (and others, for that matter) of a beautiful opportunity to be more whole, to connect, to know the real, nitty-gritty kind of love.

The kind of love that is inconvenient and sacrificial, but whole-hearted and rich.

You begin to feel a little more whole, a little more human, and you realize that this is the answer to the question of, “God, why?”

This.

This is why. People are always the reason why.

Love.

Connection.

Relationship.

This is always the “why” in life; this is why we were put here. To love and to be loved.

Which brings me to the second side of this coin of pain: that believe it or not, even the hardest, most horrific human experiences that we go through will yield healing. And when they do, we can then use our refined selves to be the source of comfort and love to those who need to be loved on and heard; for those who don’t necessarily need an answer, but simply a pair of ears that is willing to listen.

We are able to empathize more deeply, more genuinely. We can actively help carry each other’s burdens from experience. From being able to say, “I know what you’re going through.” From knowing what to say (or what not to say) because we too have walked that road of brokenness.  We are able to actively love those people through the trenches of their own lives and help them stand again. It is often here where depth is born in relationships and friends become family.

We’re allowing a deeper, more wholistic healing to take place, both in us and in the person grieving. Another layer of us heals as we realize that our past wounds are now able to serve those around us, and once again, we understand “why.”

Love.

Compassion.

Relationships.

This love, this connection to others in such vulnerable seasons is “why.”

I hate pain, but on the same token, I can also say that some of my favorite people in my life are the ones who have seen me through some of my darkest, most painful times. They’re also what make my life so rich and robust and beautiful. They make me a better human.

Sometimes there is no tangible, literal reason why bad things happen. I don’t believe that God “causes” bad things to happen. If that were the case, I could not also say that I believe that he is a good God (which I do). I don’t think he micromanages every part of our lives and chooses who gets to experience certain hard things and who gets to experience other hard things.

I don’t know “why.” But I know that when I look at all of the life around me – the sun that knows when to rise and set, the seasons that know when to change, the trees that sustain themselves, the life of the flowers from seeds that are now blooming in my garden, and the love that makes my heart explode when I walk through the most unbearable seasons of life (regardless of what side of the trench I’m on) – I see hope. I see beauty.

I see Jesus helping and loving us through the hardships in life and rejoicing with us when we experience the joy in life.

I see all things being made new.

And that’s enough.