I've lived a privileged life.
Side note: I believe in privilege. I don't believe privilege is segregated to races (which the media pushes on us).
Some of my peers—who are also white—have faced way more shit than me. This could be due to how their parents raised them or their parents' financial situation.
While my parents weren't wealthy, they were rich in how they raised us. They instilled Christian values in us and truly walked the walk. They put my brothers and me on the 25-yard line while most started in the endzone.
But I've come to realize that life doesn't care. Life sucks for everyone.
As I grew up, pain became something I avoided at all costs. Thankfully my mother assisted in making my growing years as pain-free as possible. But sooner or later, pain comes.
And that's what today's email is about: How to remain in pain while becoming better through it.
Over the last decade, I've been very close to the pain of others:
Being there to save my brother from hanging himself.
Having a dear friend of mine battle cancer.
Fighting my own anxiety battles + panic attacks.
Watching my grandmother wither from heart disease.
Helping my brother and his son through a divorce.
Pain is everywhere in my life. Right when the pain begins to cease, something else happens.
I could run from it, like many who have privilege do. I could push the less fortunate out of my sight and only send money (never getting close enough to feel the pain).
I could drink it away, as many people in pain do. I could go to sports events and drink. Dammit, I could wake up and drink.
I could be swallowed by it, like some who are in pain or help those in pain. I could become a hermit, overtaken by pain and fear, and be a shadow of my essential self.
Instead, I choose to sit with it. I remain in the space of pain for as long as the Spirit of Christ in me can handle.
Because in my weakness (pain), I am strong (holding on to the Spirit of Christ in me).
I'm not in the camp that believes every diagnosis is from God. I attempt to avoid putting meaning on things when uncertainty floods my being.
But I believe there is a reason (and benefit) for why God surrounds us with pain.
And I believe if you are dealing with pain, sitting with it is the best thing you can do. Just be with your pain.
Remember, you are not your pain. You are not your thoughts.
Find the constant (essential self) veiled by pain, emotion, and thought.
That is where peace is.
Peace is not the absence of pain; It is the ability to remain in the space of pain with a smile on your face.
If you ever feel overwhelmed by the pain life brings, please reach out. I'm here for you as hundreds have been for me in my lowest moments.
Even with the pain, life is a joy to live.
Believe that with me.
🧠 + ❤️ // JO