Go Towards Your Pain to Relieve It

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Self-Care #197 – Go where your pain is to prepare for what happens badly in life.

Yesterday we talked about the power of loss, grief and pain not being one that can take away the potential of life.

Carl appreciated the idea that “scripted cue cards” with platitudes on them to read off for ourselves or for others when something bad happens – “Good comes out of bad,” “I know what you feel like,” and so on – is nothing anyone wants.  His comment included, in true Carl-style, a great question:

But what else can we say to show respectful empathy?

Goodness.  For crying out loud, we aren’t a bunch of calloused puff heads who don’t care or who don’t have a clue when someone is suffering!  We’ve all asked this question and wanted to help.  We’ve wanted to connect, to serve, to answer Carl’s question when we are in or come into the presence of pain.

In self-care, we can’t help others if we don’t help ourselves first.  We can’t give what we don’t have.  Airplane crashing, put your oxygen on before your babies.  Can’t withdraw if the bank account is empty….  We take care of ourselves and find that we can serve others more as a result.  It’s the same way in grief.  If we don’t go where our own pain is in life, if we aren’t present with our life journey, if we don’t fight hard for who we are, it is very hard to know how to answer this question.

There’s something to say about doing the work before the trouble comes and then when it comes, use it to prepare for more.  I love Ecclesiastes 12 which tells us in Solomon’s depressed and yet feisty words,

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—

Solomon was talking about self-care here.  Holding us responsible at the elemental level to use the time we have before trouble comes, so that when it comes, we have a way of answering.

Carl gave his own answer,

…live life on life’s terms like it or not.  If we allow Jesus to embrace us and comfort us it will fortify us through life’s unfortunate tragedies.

Question:  What is your answer to Carl’s question?  Please tell me your story.

7 thoughts on “Go Towards Your Pain to Relieve It

  1. Sometimes we don’t have to “say” anything at all…being there makes all the difference in the world. I know in my current situation not everyone can say they’ve lost a sibling or a loved one to terminal illness, so they might not know how I feel. However, there offers of support and knowing they care and that they’ve lifted us up in prayer makes more of a difference than they might ever realize.

  2. Some ideas…

    “I’m sorry you are going through this. What can I do to help?”

    “I hope your healing comes soon.”

    “I am sending you good thoughts as your heart finds peace.”

  3. I am deeply moved in that I was able to present some ideas from which others may find meaning in this discussion of the most personal feelings. My parents are 88 and live with me. Everyone else is gone. What will I do with the remaining one when my other parent passes? I have yet to experience such matters. I don’t know that I will be qualified to console myself. Or that the alleged wisdom I share will strengthen me. One comforting thought is that those of us that stayed connected to the creator and his prophet know that we will all meet again “down by the river side”

  4. Pingback: Reflections from the Waterfall: The Hundredth Platitude « healingbetrayal

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