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Pain Lessons
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The pain started years ago, as a young person, long before gray hair. The pain was no respecter of age or gender; the pain was not fun. It invaded black velvet time, a sleep robber, and it disturbed daytime duties denying desired activities, and limiting abilities.

However, this isn’t a pity party I’m inviting you to, rather it’s a praise time to share three lessons I’ve learned from pain.

Three Lessons

Empathy: One can be sympathetic to a person with pain but to be wholly empathetic it takes a relationship with the person’s pain. I remember a young woman whom I interviewed who told me how hard it was for her to be afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis—but to look so healthy was a detriment. Indeed, she was attractive and multi-talented. She said people questioned her sincerity when they saw her in a wheelchair or scooter because perhaps they had seen her a month before or a few days after walking through a shopping center. My heart went out to her because I, too, “look healthy.” Empathy can’t be learned fully any other way. Therefore, I thank God for pain.

Patience:  When pain goes on for years and years and the rounds of all physicians, therapists and so forth are exhausted, one either develops patience or becomes disgruntled. I prefer to be a pleasant person. In addition to all the medical pursuing, I’ve been anointed three times; thus, patience. Is God telling me that healing will come—but not until heaven? Patience is one of the finer virtues and if pain is necessary, then I thank God for pain.

Service: At a young age, my schoolteachers pointed out my artistic talents. Though I came from a broken home, and my mother and I lived meagerly, my talent was like a lifejacket in a shipwreck on a stormy sea. It kept me afloat.

I always felt the need to do for others and as an adult; I adopted “others” as my motto. At mid-life, I discovered a latent talent of writing, in particular human-interest news writing. I became an adept freelancer. My writing led to community service and teaching writing classes. Serving others continues to keep me afloat through the pain.

This all became a ministry of service for Jesus. Many times a published piece brings to the interviewee exciting results. I rejoice in being a part of that. When the opportunity presents itself, praying with my interviewees and students, makes friends and strengthens my faith. To see my students do well as writers brings me joy. I often wonder; without the pain would I have been as willing to be a “limited income writer”? Might I have wanted much more and relied less on the Holy Spirit if I myself were not limited?

My conclusion of the matter, I thank God for pain for it bettered my life with service for God and others. Though I still want to be pain free, someday I will be. Soon heaven!

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By Betty Kossick. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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