LIFE is a constant journey filled with experience, some of occasional joy and some of unexpected pain. We’re wisest to consider life a blessing. For that is the truth.
This article, like much of my writing, is for the person who is experiencing unexpected pain. The idea is we can experience joy at any point in life, not just when we’re joyous for a reason — when something truly good has happened or is happening in our lives.
I want to share with you two strategies that work for our overall growth when we’re in periods of pain; such strategies can aid our lives at any time:
1. Find Joy in Simplicity
Simplicity is found in mindful engagement; when we focus our mind’s intention — all the capacities of our thought — on something worthwhile. And, in this case it’s on the simplicity God’s wired into every existential experience. Like drinking a cup of tea and experiencing it with all our senses. Focus on the heat energy that the hot tea gives through conducting its heat through the tea cup. And focus on the aroma of the tea as it wafts through the steam. As you taste the tea, try and put into words what the taste is like; does it remind you of any memories you have? Is it favourable to the taste? How could the taste be improved? That sort of thing.
If your experience of mindfulness is anything like mine, you could meet God, for God-encounters happen in the ordinary flow and mundane experiences of life.
The enemy of finding uncommon joy in simplicity is most of our lives are far too complex and busy. Pain is an invitation to revise what we’re doing and strip back on less important activities. Through the wisdom of saying no to unnecessary things we entreat simplicity. Truly there is so much of life to be enjoyed if only we can approach life through simplicity. There is much power in saying no to things that don’t add value to our life and other people’s lives.
2. Be Real in (and About) Pain
Pain is nothing to be afraid of. Of course, none of us like the pain of grief in loss, adjustment, hurt, betrayal, loneliness, etc. But finding moments to be raw and real means we’ll experience the blessed primary emotions, for which God gave for our blessed growth.
Growth of character is a blessed compensation for the pain we endure with realness.
Besides, being real in pain exposes us to cleaner, safer emotions — experiencing the primary emotion of sorrow versus the anger of the secondary emotion for the denial of the primary emotion. Sorrow is safer for everyone and it’s more truthful than anger is; it’s appropriate we feel incredibly sad in and for our pain. Feeling abysmally sad is nothing to be afraid of. But anger has the potential to end very badly.
The final whistle charge is this:
Find joy in simplicity and be real in your pain. For simplicity aids the acceptance of reality and reality you’ll find speaks in simplicity.
Simplicity aids the acceptance of reality. Being real in pain allows reality to speak in powerful simplicity.
There’s joy in simplicity,
Strength for realness in pain,
Head for blessed centricity,
The coming of a solemn gain.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.