Monday, March 4

Pain for Others

I don't know if we as human beings experience pain differently from one another. Part of me assumes that we do, since the medical world talks about pain tolerance and experiences that seem to scar one person flatten another.

Either way, today I'm in pain.

Most of the pain in my life is caused by myself. By misunderstanding what's real and what isn't. By focusing on things that won't lead me to happiness.

But then there are people. And the pain that comes from loving. When I open my heart to people and they crush it. When they tell me I don't care, or that they are leaving me, or to go away.

That's pain.
 And then there's the pain of watching someone else in pain. Someone struggling to find hope and faith. And feeling totally impotent to make a difference even when it's been the focus of my mind and prayers and 3 days of fasting.

But it's worth it, right? Relationships... people make me a better man, and give me a reason to go on in life... even if they are painful.

I wonder how God deals with it. He loves people even more than I do... which means that He must feel a lot of pain.


  1. This is going to sound blase, but it isn't intended to be. When you're down, go hit something. I recommend racquetball. There aren't too many sports in which the point of the game is to hit something as hard as you can, and you don't have to chase it all that far.

  2. I think God understands that we go through pain for a reason; to grow, to learn, to become the people that we want to be. From a human perspective though it is hard to even hell to watch someone we love in pain and also to be in pain ourselves!

  3. I probably wouldn't want to go out and get my arm cut off to see if I'd prefer physical pain to the emotional and spiritual pain that I feel often. For me, it seems easier to avoid physical pain because I avoid dangerous things. However, I have much less control over the emotional pain that sometimes seems overwhelming.

    I have two thoughts. First, I have found that the intensity of my feelings depend on how much I invest myself in something. For example, on my mission I would put my heart into the work and I really loved the people and really wanted to see them find and accept the Gospel. When they decided to join the church and be baptized, my happiness and joy soared. It was amazing and I felt even more love and excitement for them. When they told us not to come around anymore, I felt true pain and discouragement. I was sad that we had tried so hard and it wasn't good enough. They just didn't see it. Sometimes when we feel that pain, we back off. We say, next time, I'm not going to put my heart in as much so that I don't feel that rejection as much. However, we'll notice that when we pull out and don't care as much, when the good things happen, we still don't care.

    We know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have everything in. They do not hold back in the least. That is the way that they can feel pure, true, and eternal joy and happiness. At the same time, they are extremely saddened to see one that they love so much fall away and choose to go the other way. I wish that I knew how they dealt with that, because that would teach us a lot about how we can deal with it in our lives.

    In John 11:35, Jesus wept as he was with Mary at the tomb of Lazarus. He felt true emotion.

    In Moses 7:28, it describes how the God of heaven wept. Enoch asked, "How is it that thou can weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?" God then gives His answer.

    One thing that we can know is that we stand with the best blood that ever lived when we get discouraged and feel that pain. And we can know that whatever the cause of the pain, if we turn it over to the Lord, His atonement can cover it. Repent if it's something that you've done, forgive if it's something that someone else has done to you, and put your faith in the Lord to take care of everything else. Healing will come. Happiness and peace will come.

    The second thought is the comparison between physical and emotional pain. From when we were little, when we got hurt, we go to our mom or dad, or whoever for help. We know that it needs taken care of, it needs fixed. Usually we are unashamed of seeking out that help. On the other hand, many times when we are feeling emotional pain, our tendency is to pretend that everything is alright and hide that pain. Think about how much better we could treat and deal with those emotional pains that we have if we were willing to be open about them and get the help that we need. And on the other side, if we were willing to see those pains for what they really are and be willing to help out those that are in distress.

    I've realized that my comment is longer than your post, so I should probably stop. :)

  4. I have prayed to my Heavenly Father so many times, with tears streaming down my face asking him why he has blessed me with the capacity to love people so much. When I found out about the struggle you address via this blog, I cried out in anguish and indignation. I think it was the first time in my life that I was angry with the Lord because it seemed so unfair. Working through the rest of my personal feelings was so minor compared to the pain I felt in your behalf. Occasionally that pain comes to the surface again, when you share about your daily struggles, but then the piercing shaft of hope ensconced in the Atonement reminds me that it will be okay. The concepts of Justice and Mercy along with knowing that the Father wants to give us every blessing are the overarching promises that give me peace about you, about my life, and about the hundreds of others I have encountered in my nearly 30 years of mortal existence. I'm grateful that loving them generally comes easily to me and as I experience their pain... I am drawn ever closer to my Heavenly Father and I come to know my Savior, Jesus Christ as a friend. Pain is always partially joyful, if I allow myself to embrace it and look to understand God's purposes for giving it to me.


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