Finding Joy In Pain

My heart is getting a workout, but not in the way you might expect. A dear friend has moved over 400 miles away and my heart feels it. While on a walk this past weekend, I had some time to clear my head and realized that much like a cardio workout, this emotional workout is good for me.

There is something special about the combination of breathing in flora and exercise. My thoughts bounced around on various topics, but often returned to my friend, the ache I felt in my heart, and what to do with these feelings. After much rumination, these thoughts are what I was left with.

Pain brings joy.

Everything in the universe has an opposite and while equilibrium is sought, the extreme highs and lows are a part of the process. I believe that we are rewarded with joy after experiencing pain. Sometimes, I have reminded myself that good things are coming in the midst of pain.

Pain provides clarity.

A struggle often causes me to concentrate attention which can lead to reflection. This process often takes time (although that is likely directly related to how much focus I have allocated - what a catch 22!). Clarity brings peace, and sometimes a bit of wisdom.

Pain reminds us that we need others.

"I don't want to burden others with my struggles."

"It's not that big of a deal."

"I can handle this."

"I should have (insert excuse here) and I wouldn't be dealing with this."

"My life isn't as hard as (insert someone else struggling), don't complain."

These are just some of the messages that I have accepted. While there is some truth to each of these, I have found that when I have trusted people enough to be vulnerable, our relationship strengthens. Like it or not, pain is part of everyone's story.

Pain produces strength.

Working through pain builds stamina, increases patience, and ultimately makes you stronger. It's not fun and may leave a scar, but overcoming the pain will leave you stronger and more resilient.

After a good walk in the fresh air with the rays of sunshine kissing my arms, my heart still ached, but in spite of this pain, I felt peace. So I started this week with a smile on my face, not to hide behind, but in recognition that I am insanely lucky to have such dear friends, one in particular who lives further away today than she did last week. And recognizing that this geographical modification to our friendship has given me a new city to visit and explore.

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