Pain is powerful. If you’re going through something, it’s because you have work to do. There’s something to learn whether it be patience, empathy, humbleness or self-control. Or perhaps it’s to help someone else fulfill their destiny.
When you’re in pain, the first thing you want to do is escape. Or isolate. Those are the two worst things you can do. Let yourself feel. Acknowledge it exists. Pledge to learn the lesson, because lessons unlearned come back to bite us in the butt again and again.
When John Walsh lost his beloved to 6-year old son Adam to a murderer’s hands, he could’ve easily said, ‘it is finished. I no longer wish to exist.’ Or, he could’ve numbed the pain with drugs or alcohol or women or had himself committed. Instead, he took his rage and his guttural humanness and transformed it into the televison show “America’s Most Wanted”. He became consumed on a one-man mission hunting for criminals who inflict pain on others.
He honored his son’s memory by getting better and he processed his own pain by helping others with theirs. He reached out. He let his life become one of service.
Does his pain still exist? Yes. I’m sure there’s not a day goes by without him thinking of little Adam. Did John get better? Yes, because the world got better by John using his soul-sucking pain for good.
John’s story is dramatic. Hopefully, none of us will ever lose a child to a horrific crime.
But every pain hurts. And pain creates change. (If you’ll let it.)
As a young Mom, I worked as a marketing person earning $36,000 a year. I had a 9’ x 9’ cubicle, 2 weeks vacation and a life filled with absolute chaos. My babies were 2, 4 and 7 and I was a maintanence Mom…the Mom who gives the baths, feeds the meals, tucks you into bed but never really captures the moments because she’s too busy running on the rat race treadmill of life.
I was miserable, my babies were getting shortchanged but I convinced myself that I had to work because we had two incomes with two income expenses. I was paying ten grand a year to day-care, running myself ragged and missing some of the most memorable times of my kids’ lives. And I stayed in the race for 7 years until the one day when I couldn’t take it anymore and I made the life-changing decision. In an instant.
I gave my boss his pink slip. (I quit.)
I went home to be with my babies and started my own business out of a bedroom in our basement.
I tripled my income and decreased my work hours by 75%.
But most importantly, I got to be a Mom. Their Mom. Candice’s Mom. Kelsey’s Mom. Travis’ Mom. The Mom who makes macaroni and cheese and sits at relentless soccer practices.
The one who could finally breathe in spite of kids bickering, too much laundry and a thousand replays of the Wizard of Oz.
My pain made me change. My misery created movement. Positive movement. Change that has impacted the entire course of my life and my family’s lives.
Sit with your pain. Know that it won’t last forever. Use it for good.
Life has a lesson you’re supposed to learn.