Pain Is Pain – Why Make It Noble?


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 (Photo credit: M-J Milloy)

Lorelle VanFossen of “Lorrelle on WordPress” (an excellent blog on blogging and WordPress) is currently running a series of blog exercises.

The one from earlier today starts:

You know, the number one thing we want to avoid in life is pain. But at the same time, it’s the number one thing that forces us to grow as human beings. It deepens our ability to feel empathy, turns knowledge into wisdom. And there was enough pain in this situation that I think in a lot of ways it can turn you into a better person.

This is a quote from Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three. Now he had a bunch of terrible stuff happen and he suffered for many years. I’m not surprised he has tried hard to find some good out of all that pain, it may have been the only thing that kept him sane.

She continues:

Today’s Blog Exercise is to explore what that quote means to you.

It is the truth. We want to avoid pain, but it is the pain that makes us grow, as human beings as well as compassionate members of society. It turns knowledge into wisdom. We must learn from our mistakes in order to grow.

It is through pain and suffering that we find courage, motivation, and inspiration to move forward in our lives. Pain, and the avoidance of pain, directs our path.

Publish a post on how pain in your life, the struggles, the challenges, have made you a better person and impacted who you are and how you blog.

Well I’m sorry Lorelle, I call b#llsh#t. I just totally disagree with the premise. It’s not truth. Pain is pain, it doesn’t necessarily make you grow and you can grow without pain. It’s perfectly possible to direct your path without pain or the avoidance of pain. Experience of all types creates wisdom and knowledge has nothing to do with wisdom. We can learn from our successes and even grow from them.

Do you want an example? I’m a loving and devoted father and I have learnt so much from the experience. Being a father is one of the major things that has directed my path for the last twenty years. The mutual love of my daughter and myself has given me more courage, motivation and inspiration than any of the pain and suffering I have experienced.

Here’s another from the other side of the ledger. I suffer from chronic asthma, I can have attacks that last for days of pain. I have done so for fifty years, any possible learning or wisdom (and I don’t think there has been any) would have been many, many years ago. Asthma may have directed my path a little, it had a physical effect on my body when I was young keeping me thin and scrawny but I may have been a little thin and scrawny anyway, my mother was always thin without any asthma.

I wonder where we get this ennobling of pain and suffering? Is it part of the baggage of our Christian culture? The ethos of you can suffer in this world because the next is paradise. Or is it that humanity wants a reason for everything. If we have to suffer and feel pain there must be a reason for it, there must be something on the good side of the ledger. Then we have the concept of reincarnation, that we suffer in this life to make up for the sins of a previous one and to make us better for a better life next time.

Well folks, I have to tell you that the universe isn’t built that way. A lot of things happen without that sort of reason. A lot of bad things just happen without any benefit at the time or in the future, they just happen.

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Pain Is Pain – Why Make It Noble?

  1. I can’t help but laugh while reading this. I think that the exercise certainly inspired you, which is the whole purpose of them. Excellent.
    Pain is one of those four letter words people rarely understand or take time to appreciate. When a loved one dies, it hurts. Not physically, but there is hurt. What do we learn from that? Some learn that dying is terrible, something to be avoided at all costs. Others learn that death is inevitable, so who cares. Others learn to appreciate each moment better as they know it only comes once.
    I feel pain, a hurt, when I lose my keys. I also learn from the experience, one that I have to keep repeating unfortunately, to put them where I can find them, hopefully in the same place every time.
    Your asthma taught you patience, waiting through the attack to recovery, which I’m sure makes you a better parent as you listen to the 3,000th rendition of Mary Poppins or say no to the same begging request.
    As for the religious side of pain, I tend to not go there. That’s between you and your belief system. I don’t think pain or endurance has anything to do with pain unless you choose to make it so.
    Well done! No matter which approach you took, you did great on this exercise. You tackled a question, found an answer, blogged it, and opened yourself up to a bigger conversation by sharing. Well done! You win five gold stars. LOL!

  2. I think a period of pain is just a stage that you remember as a turning point even if it wasn’t. Because its a time when you would have been forced to stop your everyday stuff and stay still, maybe bedridden for months. So there is a before pain period and an after. So its natural to think that because there was a pause, that afterwards you were in a different stage of your life. Which you were, technically.
    With asthma, i never realised it was actually painful. Though i guess anything that can kill you probably hurts.
    And i guess if it happens a hundred times then its hard to learn from that anything more than here it goes again.
    The pain i’ve had in my life has made it smaller, i learned i can’t do whatever i like, and i have to be careful about lots of things. Not good things to learn but i guess i learned patience cos thats what you have to have.

  3. Say bullshit if that’s what you mean, Tony. I’ve never believed that pain was in any way ennobling. I watched my father take a couple of years to die; the last year was just awful and the last few months, despite the meds,extremely painful. All either of us could think was, when will it stop.

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