Let’s just admit it: Life’s tough. It’s full of challenges. And each and every one of us knows this truth in different ways as it’s touched our lives in different places. Some of us have experienced much pain and yet some of us not as much. But what does that matter? Pain is experienced in perspective. And I continue to find that what some people can think is a huge challenge and difficulty would seem like child’s play to others. But pain is pain. It hurts when it hurts. And we all know that, because to varying degrees, we’ve felt it.
Last week I sat and caught up with a friend who, a year ago, lost his 4-year-old son after a 3-year-long battle with cancer. Can you imagine that pain? And another friend shared about how her and her husband, as they’ve been trying to start a family, had dealt with the pain of two miscarriages. I really can’t imagine.
Yet through all this, my kind friend who’d lost an amazing son shared with me and a few others that he refuses to believe that we should discount our pain in light of what he’s experienced. He assured us that what we’d gone through and suffered through is no less painful just because it may not seem to compare with his. While you could argue that point a bit, I see what he’s saying.
And what really concerns me through all the pain that we’re all going to experience and have already experienced, is that we may be tempted to just give up.
I’m a pretty resilient person, but even still am often tempted to just throw in the towel on certain parts of my life. If I were to be really honest – and I now hope I’m ok to be this honest! – I was even tempted years ago to throw in the towel on life. Life, in all of its challenges and difficulties can be a burden that seems too hard to bear at times.
This brings me to what yet another friend shared with me last week: That in his area (Detroit) they’re having a real issue with students committing suicide. They’re giving up hope. They’re giving up fighting. They’re feeling like they have no other option, no other way of dealing with these pains we experience.
But there is another way. You can make it through! We don’t need to give up on life. And, for many more of us, we don’t need to give up on fighting for the things we care about. We don’t need to give in to apathy. We don’t need to give up on our family. We don’t need to give up dreaming, hoping, trying. We can be better on the other side of our storms. Stronger if we just stick through.
Like gold is refined through the fire and a sword is made sharp by being beaten, you may be going through a process that – as painful as it is now – might be making you stronger and more precious in the long run. Don’t give up!