When I was young girl I suffered from severe dysmenorrhea, which in plain English is menstrual cramps. Now before you say TMI,please hear me out.As you can imagine,I never looked forward to that time of the month, because I would experience excruciating pain which would incapacitate me for at least 24 hours. It was quite awful and I remained afflicted with this malady for nearly 20 years. I tried all sorts of remedies,exercises and treatments,but nothing really worked for me.
Occasionally there was a plus side to my monthly affliction.For instance,there was the time when I was a sophomore in college, that I actually met a very nice guy.I was sitting in my campus lounge between classes and hoping I would be able to make it to my next class. This very handsome student came over to me and asked me if anything was wrong. I told him that I wasn’t feeling very well and he said if I held one of his books while he went to his class he would drive me home.At that point,I knew I couldn’t move because the pain was so bad. I told him that I lived at the other end of Brooklyn and he reassured me that that was not a problem for him. Soon, as promised, he came, led me to his cute little Fiat convertible and drove me home. We ended up dating after that for quite a time and my parents adored him (which is probably one of the reasons I did not)…..oh,oh,but then I do digress.Anyway, for the most part, I continued to suffer with menstrual cramps until many years hence when I gave birth to my son. After the miracle of birth, I was no longer plagued by monthly pain and suffering.At last I was free.
There have been many historical and religious figures who have viewed suffering as the way. There is the Christian idea of redemptive suffering, and the Buddhist belief that one must deal with one’s own self before they can assist others in diminishing theirs. Here,though is where I pose a question: Is it really necessary to spend a lifetime in pain,mourning the past,present and future? Is it noble to mourn the loss of loved ones forever? What does one learn from the experience? Should we bear our emotional burdens throughout our lives? What does suffering do for our body and souls?
After I lost my husband the pain that I endured was seemingly never-ending. I felt that this was my new normal. It seemed as if no one else could have possibly experienced such heartache and pain. Of course I was wrong, but when you’re trapped in your own private hell it’s like standing alone in a dense forest ,not knowing in which direction to go in order to find a way out.So you remain,frozen,in pain,running in circles,not able to see an opening because of all the trees.
I would suggest that God never wants anyone to suffer. We all have choices and free will.Depending on our individual desire to get off the hamster wheel,we all have the choice to make our way through the dense forest toward the lit path. Life is full of pain and suffering and we cannot assist others if we do not fix ourselves first.We can choose to endure a lifetime of suffering or we can make our way through that thicket and attempt to create a life that is comfortable, compassionate, loving, and optimistic.We may choose,down the road,to turn our experience into one of assisting others,but we must first become whole .When people lose a loved one they can mistakenly feel that to lose the pain of the loss would be a betrayal to the one who has died.We can get so used to dealing with sadness.pain and suffering that it becomes a part of our daily living being. So much so, it becomes our shadow following and haunting us wherever we go;an odd source of comfort as we go through the day to day.
We are the only ones who can lift ourselves out of our personal pain and torture. We came into this world free of worldly problems, however we accumulate hurts, losses, anger, regrets,as an outgrowth of a myraid of emotional and physical earthly experiences that become a part of our map. At some point we must face it all and decide to give our lives over to the possibility of something new.
Many of us who lose a loved one have an unwillingness to discard that mourning cloak. However,keeping the dead alive by clinging to them,is not the answer. The reasons are varied as to why we cling tightly to our painful experiences.But I can assure you that those who do,derive some benefit out of being the one who carries a painful story.It is possible with the help of short-term therapy, to put an end to long-term suffering. But one must make a decision and a commitment to do so.Long term suffering serves a purpose, but if we can feel the pain that will be the first step in healing what ails us,making us stronger.
I really do believe that we are the “the masters of our own fate, and the captains of our own souls”. It can be scary to have a life that is free of pain and suffering if one has never allowed themselves to experience that. I propose that one submit to the pain. My suffering through my adolescence into young adulthood ended when I gave birth.
This can be used as a metaphor for what one needs to do in order to discard the cloak of pain and sorrow. You must commit yourself to the work of healing so that you too can be reborn.In the end you may even stumble upon your purpose for being here in the first place.
Want to end the pain of suffering the loss of a loved one.? Need hope? Read Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all other e-booksellers.Also available in New York’s Riverside Church’s gift shop.Go to Amazon or http://www.braveinanewworld.com ,click on the tab and order your copy today.