Joy and Pain

The trading of joy comes naturally because it is of the nature of joy to proclaim and share itself. Joy cannot contain itself, as we say. It overflows.

And so it should properly be with pain as well. We are never more alive to life than when it hurts–never more aware both of our own powerlessness to save ourselves and of at least the possibility of a power beyond ourselves to save us and heal us if we can only open ourselves to it. We are never more aware of our need for each other, never more in reach of each other if we can only bring ourselves to reach out and let ourselves be reached….

We are never more in touch with life than when life is painful, never more in touch with hope than we are then, if only the hope of another human presence to be with us and for us.

Being a good steward of your pain involves all those things, I think. It involves being alive to your life. It involves taking the risk of being open, of reaching out, of keeping in touch with the pain as well as the joy of what happens because at no time more than at a painful time do we live out of the depths of who we are instead of out of the shallows.

Frederick Buechner

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