Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pain or Perspective?

I read a few quotes by Ted Dekker earlier this week that have stuck in my mind.  They are about our pasts.

 “Pain or perspective, that's the choice.'
. . .
You choose pain - you choose to fight it, deny it, bury it - then yes, the choice is always hard. But you choose perspective - embrace your history, give it credit for the better person it can make you, scars and all - the choice gets easier every time.”
Ted Dekker, Kiss 

 “. . . your history is no less important to your survival than your ability to breathe. In the end, you can only determine whether to saturate your memories with pain or with perspective. Forgetting is not an option. I tell you the truth now: Pain was not God's plan for this life. It is a reality, but it is not a part of the plan.”
Ted Dekker

I have been pondering the past recently.  I have past pain, deep pain, just like each of you.  If you can look back at your life and not find a time of great hurt I am very glad for you.  But for most of us, pain from the past is a reality.  For me, it shaped my entire personality. It changed me.  I suppose pain does that.  I know with certainty I have forgiven the inflicter of the pain. The hurt doesn't assault me on a daily basis.  In fact, like most unpleasant things I encounter in my life, I have become very adept at ignoring the pain.  The above words are so true though- forgetting is not an option.  I have been fighting, denying...burying the pain.  But it is still there- a gaping, seeping wound.  What to do with it?

I have asked God to heal it, begged and pleaded for all traces of the wound to it never happened.  But that's just more denying and burying, isn't it?  The past made me who I am today, for good and bad.  I am mentally and emotionally stronger because of it.  I gained wisdom, seeking God and the truth in his word more than air in my lungs.  Pain brings beauty to God's promises, doesn't it?  The pain of the past also made me harder and more closed, not as trusting as I once was.  Perhaps that last one is not all bad, says the still too naive girl.  But it also drove me to actions, words and choices I am not proud of.  It is in our nature to fill a hole...we dig a hole in our backyard and we refill it as quickly as possible- someone could get hurt by that gaping hazard, right?  We fill the holes inside of us with such frenzied intensity sometimes, aching to forget and instantly move forward from the pain, that all we do is add more burdens and addictions on top of the core issue of our deep hurt.

As I face this pain and wonder what it means for my future, I feel the choice of perspective is air to a drowning person.  What if I embraced the pain?  I know I am thankful for the positives changes it brought about in me.  I am shameful for the negative ones, but that is part of the perspective too, isn't it?   I might as well hang up the forgetting part, it's not gonna happen.  Nor can I pretend I am healed and whole when I am not.  But perspective...embracing all of my past...perhaps I can do that.  It's gonna hurt like hell, that's honest.  I am going to try though.  Living in denial of the pain is not an option anymore.  And it is also a little insulting to the person I am now, isn't it?  I survived the pain, just like each of you.  

It is your turn.  How do you deal with deep pain from your past?  What works and what doesn't?   

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