Audioblog Podcast: Turn Your Pain into Purpose
Once we have loved, we will feel pain. This is one of the terrible truths about life. Some people say heartbreak is part of God’s plan. I used to say everything happens for a reason. Then I watched my son struggle for life in a plastic box. It’s up to each of us to figure out the purpose of our pain, not God, and not well-meaning onlookers. Sometimes it takes a while, even for us, to find that purpose.
Pain causes uncontrollable doubt about our life, in our spirituality, and about ourselves. When it hurts the most, we can’t breathe. Life spins around us like sharks hungry for another bite. We wait endless hours for that single minute which paralyses us to pass. Even our bodies rebel, bringing us down instead of keeping us up.
Despite all of this, our suffering doesn’t have to be slave to empty life-sucking grief. During a moment of reprieve, a thought pushes itself through the gloom: “I have to do something.”
Hold on to that clarity as long as you can, for it will be your salvation. For me, it started off by getting out of bed each day when my son faced the complications of being born three months premature. That’s why my first book, Growing A Rainbow, is about him. I couldn’t begin as an author without turning my painful experience into an awareness raising tool and a fundraising venture for the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation.
Blissdom’s Speakers Turned Pain into Purpose
This past weekend, at Blissdom Canada, I had the honour of listening to several inspirational women and men who found a way to turn their pain into purpose.
Patty Oliver turned the trauma of her childhood into a promise to herself and her children: that she wouldn’t be controlled by the anger and hurt which destroyed her family.
Blissdom principle, Jennifer Powell, faced her crippling anxiety, achieved a difficult 40 pound weight loss, and then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro whilst raising money for Village Education Project Kilimanjaro.
Talli Osborne overcomes her missing arms and legs with a stellar personality and drive, showing everyone that disability is not a lack of ability, and that beauty is not limited by being different.
Ryan E. Hamilton co-created a social media phenomenon with Life of Dad after his life threw a divorce and job loss at him when he was already dealing with autism in his son.
Jennifer White’s daughter, Olivia, died on Boxing Day, 2012. She was five years old. In her tribute, Jennifer founded The Princess Ball, a tea-party for princesses which raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Every parent in the room felt her pain and hugged their children tighter on Sunday.
Derreck Kayongo lost the innocence of his youth when armed men shot nine people in front of him. With the Global Soap Project, he gives humanity back to villages where economics and violence deprives the inhabitants of basic sanitation. When he was a refugee in America, he saw hotels throwing away bars of used soap. He didn’t keep any of them for himself, although he was penniless.
These people used the negative emotions of their past as the scaffolding for dynamic and meaningful lives. It didn’t happen on the first day the pain hit them. Nor, I suspect, is their pain truly gone. When they feel it, I know that, after a good belly-aching cry, they hear that voice saying, “I have to do something.” And they will.
What’s your pain? How can you change your pain into purpose?