I usually don't want this to be true. Quite simply,
it means that many of our most important lessons come
through pain and suffering, so if we're people who want to
learn important lessons, we must pretty much expect pain
and suffering. On the surface, this seems to be a
fatalistic perspective. In reality, though, we all
have to face such things in our lives, and when they do
come, it's good to know that they do bring us something
more than just the pain on the surface.
Mildred (aka the Peace Pilgrim), isn't telling us that we
should invite pain and suffering into our lives, and she
isn't telling us that we should celebrate when it does
enter into our reality. What she is telling us is
that we should pay attention to it when it's here, for it
can bring more to us than itself. Some of the most
devastating breakups have led many people to realize just
how self-sufficient they can be; some terrible medical
diagnoses have led people to re-examine their lives and
bring a new richness and fullness to their reality.
The question we must ask ourselves is how we react to
pain. Do we try to deny it and try to thrust it out
of our lives, or do we accept it and try to find out what
messages it may be bringing to us? Are our minds
closed to the possibility of learning from suffering, or
do we open our minds to possibilities even as the pain
makes itself known?
Pain and suffering are something that we spend a lot of
time and energy avoiding, and rightly so. But when
they do force their ways into our lives, we must do our
best to figure out what they're bringing us other than
themselves--they're a part of something bigger and better,
if only we can see it.