by Kari Diane Pike
Marsha Ward posed a question to ANWA last week that has been occupying my thoughts almost constantly. She asked, "Does pain have use?" Several people offered wonderful insight on that subject. You can read them on her blog by going to this link. http://bit.ly/b9X5IU
I shared some of these thoughts with our missionary son serving in Toronto Canada and I would like to share a part of his reply:
"last week...I really studied about pain, feelings and agency - and alongside it, healing, love and charity. Quite the subject. In one April Ensign (I don't remember the year), there was a lot about the atonement, healing and love. One article was about six lessons learned by a nurse on healing. In that article, I believe the third lesson was that healing hurts. You have to feel and overcome the pain to truly be healed. A quote I enjoy from President Eyring is that there will always be pain in the service and in the repentance necessary to bring change and apply to the Atonement - or something to that effect. When we treat the symptoms and avoid the pain, healing is delayed, stunted or even avoided - the real problem still exists. But with the pain as a lesson - "don't do that again" - we can be led to the root of the problem, and change more fully. A complete change and healing - complete with an acknowledgement and overcoming of the associated pain - is not always the easiest, but it is the path the Saviour walked. He didn't turn away from the pain of Gethsemane, or the pain of the cross. In all things we must pray in patience - truly praying "not my will, but thine be done" and meaning it."
As a doula and childbirth educator, I try to teach my moms that pain is not something to be ignored or try to avoid. Pain is a tool the body uses to get our attention. Acknowledge the pain. We can be afraid to face it, thus creating more pain, more fear, etc. or we can focus on the purpose for the pain and feel gratitude for the growth. Ask what is needed and then be creative in finding ways to move through it. We were made to be creative. We can use the pain to help us grow and reach our goal. As children of God, we are divine beings through inheritance. We can have access to the power we need to be successful. Pain is just a tool meant to help us become complete and fully developed.
Pain serves us well in our writing. Our characters need pain and conflict in order to grow. Our writing is incomplete and underdeveloped without some kind of pain. To twist a phrase from an episode of "Gilmore Girls":
"It's not [real writing] if you don't get a little O-negative on your shirt."
Marsha asked a powerful question. Questions (and the pain that comes with them) stimulate creativity. Creativity brings what?...I'll let my 4-year-old grandson share his idea on that. (He and his mom do Joy School...a home-based preschool program. Every time they have Joy School, a note gets sent to the parents telling them what the lesson was for the day.)
"Monday's note said "I made a question mark today. It's what you put at the end of a question..." I asked Travis, right after class, "What goes at the end of a question?" He replies "THE ANSWER":)"