Pain is a Path to Peace
The cry for peace has filled my thoughts lately as Eremos and many in the city of Austin prepare to focus of PEACE this month.
After two days of excruciating physical pain last week, a morning of calm and quiet gave me a chance to reflect on this intense experience. I began to consider fear as a contradiction to peace. Thinking about the inner turmoil that accompanied the physical pain, I asked myself if I was fearful because I didn’t know the source of the pain. Or, was I afraid of death? Perhaps I was afraid of debilitation. Could this turmoil have been because I felt my body was betraying me? Or, did I think I did something wrong and pain was the consequence? And so my thoughts and questions kept flowing…
None of these questions surfaced in the previous two days. It took calm to let them surface. In pain, there is only a consciousness of PAIN.
But pain can be a catalyst for drawing people together. I felt the love of others who reached out to touch me with their tenderness. “Go and rest, we can handle it” came from the people getting our mailing ready for the postal service. “Let me take you to the emergency clinic” came another response from a friend. Even my Chiropractor showed up at the door unsolicited—leaving only after uncovering a possible diagnosis and recommending that I get to a medical doctor for pain medication and further testing. And, imagine my relief and even delight in hearing the medical doctor say: “I don’t know what it is, but we can give you pain medication and see what happens!”
Here I am now four days beyond the pain reflecting on what the underlying fear really was. “I can’t be an instrument of Love” my soul responded. And quite frankly I believe this is the universal fear each of us holds. Pain turns us inward upon ourselves whether this is physical, mental, emotional, cultural or spiritual. We each experience how deeply personal our pain is and we cry out in fear. Peace shows up in the midst of pain when we are touched by Love!
Now, having been loved through pain, I understand in a new way the words of Jesus: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. It is not as the world gives that I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.” John 14:27 Peace is a gift of Love that is as personal as the pain through which we have been loved.
How I pray that each person has someone who loves them into peace.