The Purpose of Pain


It was many years ago but it seems like yesterday. I had just graduated college with my degree in hand and left a broken relationship behind. My heart was torn and for the first time in my life I was lost. The instant that my engagement ring was placed back in his hands my dreams and aspirations went with it. When I say lost, I don’t mean the bounce back shortly after kind of lost. I mean the deep down meaning of life, existential, kind of what the hell do I do now!?- kind of lost. The perfectionist side of me had no goals to aspire to. I had rejected my acceptance to medical school in hopes of getting married and perusing my dreams of motherhood, white picket fence and 2.5 children.

In my crisis I called a long lost friend. She had recently started a homeless ministry downtown and wanted to know if I would come join her for a service to catch up. Needless to say I was a bit more than hesitant.

“Downtown, you say? Are you sure it’s safe?” I agreed to meet her but only after much coercion on her part. I’m glad I did. That time period changed my heart and life forever. The service was real, raw, and sometimes painful. I listened with my whole heart as these people shared how they felt forgotten by society, friends and even their family. I cried along side them and prayed for and over them. I thought I had gone there to volunteer but in reality their hearts and stories changed my life. They became my friends, my family and my church for over a year.

I particularly remember one gentleman by the name of Jeffery. His heart for Jesus was amazing and even though he didn’t have much in material wealth he carried more joy and hope in his heart then most people will ever ascertain in their lifetime. He was always helping others even in his deepest pain. He became an advocate for the homeless, always volunteering his time to serve others. I found out that he died earlier this week. He is in Heaven with Jesus and now has a home greater than any ever known, but I wanted to share the lesson I learned from my friend Jeffery.

The purpose of pain is the gift of healing. We don’t have to wait to begin to help. You can start now, and I mean right this instant even in the chaos of your painful moments. We are all wounded healers in some way or another.

I became a counselor who specialized in trauma. Understand? My trauma opened my heart and eyes to these hearts. I can now sit in, be present in the moment, not fix and just be with a person who is hurting. Trust me its hard for me to not fix something, so this was a skill that I had to learn, be it the hard way. It was the best lesson that I ever received. “Its ok, not to be ok.” I’ll be here walking right beside you, and we will walk together out of despair.

What if our greatest curse may in reality be our greatest gift?

In memory of Jeffery and my time spent @ Nomsa. Thank you for healing my heart.


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