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May 10, 2023

The Gift of Suffering

Last week I shared how a knee injury crushed my summer plans. Since then, I’m happy to report that I had a successful surgery and have crossed the healing threshold.

If you know my work, you know much of what I share comes from the processing and learning of my experience. You can imagine this sudden wound has brought much reflection.

One of the more positive surprises has been connecting with many who went through the same injury. People from wide facets of my life, past and present, shared with me how they worked through a meniscus tear.

It’s like there was a whole world out there unable for me to see. That’s the power of suffering. It is the great connector, builder of humility, and above all, empathy. It’s been so comforting having that support.

The sad part is most people suffer alone. Most aren’t wearing their pain on their sleeve. (Quite literally like I am with a knee brace.)

Many are afraid to admit they’re unhappy, lonely, depressed, scared, or lost. Finding the strength to confide with the right person can be healing in and of itself. (Why coaching and therapy are invaluable tools for transformation.)

There’s power to vulnerably sharing your suffering because it gives others permission to own theirs. As the saying goes, what’s most personal is most universal. As we drop the facade and let people in, we find the support we did and did not know we needed.

Not only does it connect us, It’s through the healing process we find the treasure of suffering. As Richard Rohr says,

“The wounded one is with the gift, the comfortable one knows nothing.”

Suffering allows us to hold more complexity, emotion and offers increased capacity to connect.

If you need support, reach out to someone. If you feel supported, tell someone who may need it.

Your pain can have meaning. It can be a catalyst for connection and an instrument for healing.

Note-this is not permission to complain and talk about how bad your life is. Context and setting matter. When you share, see it as an act of giving rather than taking. Be courageous, not a victim.

With right view and effort, you can learn to make your mess your message. You can transform because of suffering not in spite of it.

The first step — finding the strength to face it.

Album: Liminal by Be Still the Earth– Lay down, close your eyes, and let this take you somewhere.

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