Pain and Suffering

I heard something on the radio this morning that struck me – “Pain is a part of life – suffering is a choice.”  I like this quote.  I’m going to try to remember it next time my son tells me I’m not being a very good mother because I’ve made him cry over something.  In those moments, the silent voice in my heart reminds me this is precisely what makes me a good mother.  I am helping him learn to make a choice about the situation or his reaction to it.

What I have found most challenging as a mother thus far, is watching my child struggle.  I have walked away from him while he cried over various issues.  In the other room, hidden from his view, I sat and cried even harder.  But I didn’t ‘fix’ whatever was causing the problem.  I consciously give him time and space to resolve issues on his own.  Sometimes offering help when the suffering overcomes the ability for rational thought process.  I have been told I’m tough on him.  I truly don’t think I am.  I am a pushover at times, like most parents in our world today.  But, I have been determined from the start not to raise a dependent child.  From the time he was old enough to understand, I have told my son that my job is to make myself obsolete.  If I am at least slightly successful in this endeavor, perhaps he will be able to deal with the pains that come in life, and choose not to suffer through them.

I fail at this effort every day.  I tie his shoes for him because we’re running late.  I give him a third or fourth chance when I said there would only be two.  I know I fail, and I try to remember that and move forward to be better for him.  A new day comes and I get another chance, usually several chances, to help him understand that our choices of perception and attitude can change our outlook and ultimately (possibly) our success or failure in everything we do.

Accepting pain and choosing not to suffer with it…this reminds me of the crucifixion.  Actually, this reminds me of Jesus’ whole life.  He knew what he was sent here to do.  He suffered pain many times – persecution, loneliness, hunger, fatigue, inundation, solicitation, expectation…the list goes on.  As he traveled on, He was aware of the pain that awaited each step of the way.  He continued on, not suffering and pleading or letting the pain take over and win.

Pain, both physical and emotional, is a part of life.  Without those moments of hurting, how could we fully appreciate the joy that can come at other times?  Accepting this fact is a tough lesson in life.  One that many of us need to relearn several times.  It is our choice, however, to not let the pain define who we are.

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