If pain & sorrow have any benefit, it might be that they show us the depth of our strength. While we’d all most likely prefer a pain-free life—compassion, patience & gentleness are admirable characteristics that tend to personify those who have lived through difficult times.

Sadly, when our lives are going smoothly, we can develop an invincible feeling for ourselves & a harsh view of others. When it comes to illness, we may even be so cold & ignorant to think the other may have done something to bring the sickness upon themselves—as if this is an excuse for a lack of understanding of another’s pain. At best such thinking is a poor attempt at rationalizing the incomprehensible nature of life & death.

Those who have been sick or made to suffer in some way gain a new sense of grace as they have learned the true essence of humility, often from having no choice but to relinquish their independence in reliance on others. It is deep pain that also creates empathy, which in turn makes greater compassion possible. Throughout our lives, our pain, losses & sorrows increased our capacity to forgive & love more deeply. Only by being forced to intimately understand grief, can we then feel another’s pain as if it was our own.

In times of pain & sorrow, we have no choice but to dig deep into our hearts. Know that during difficult times, we also reach new potential to awaken to deeper truths, understanding & growth. Our pains & sorrows make it possible for us to gaze more gently upon humanity. Patience develops that allows us to let others grow & we seem to find a new willingness to let their growth & experience happen in due time. Remember: “When you break through the bottom of sorrow, the light floods out.”

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