Think of a world that is void of pain from birth. Everything wanted is had: no evil, sorrow, or even a stubbed toe; life is perfect and without fault. An ideal world.
Yet in this kind of world it would be impossible to give a good gift, to be a friend, to actually spread joy. It would be impossible to give joy because there is no pain. People wouldn’t even understand joy.
I believe without pain, there is no joy.
One of these joyful pains happened in my elementary years. Remember that lowly geek who was horrible at sports, no social skills even for a little kid, and buck teeth that would intimidate a beaver? That was me. From this I guess it isn’t surprising there were periods where I had no friends. The pain from this loneliness at times encompassed me and still haunts me to this day.
Yet emerging from this pain has enabled the simplest of joys to become the most exquisite. Just one smile from a true friend changes my most desolate nights to the most glorious days. I no longer have to search for my happiest moments because this hard trial has brought happiness from its far off place to finally be within my grasp.
One of these true friends has also shown me how pain enables joy. Upon meeting her, I usually notice she is so happy and jubilant; it’s almost annoying. It would be near impossible to find someone happier. Yet once I got to know her I saw her life has been filled with every kind of abuse and horror. I can’t even imagine the depth of her pain. Yet, seeing her pain and internalizing its effects has shown me how much joy is possible from this pain. She shows me everyday that happiness is possible just by being joyous when so many would give up hope.
Without hope though I’ve seen pain only brings more sorrow. In the Star Wars series, Anakin Skywalker learns about the painful future of the death of his beloved wife Padme. Anakin tries with all his might to save her, but when he loses hope he turns into Dearth Vader, now filled with sorrow. It is only when Anakin again believes in himself that Anakin no longer is Dearth Vader and receives his happiness. I believe that once there was hope enough to act, happiness conquered pain.
I’m not thinking I should become a masochist, but I now can realize after the storms of my life happen – if I try – I will only be happier. And from this happiness it will give me the strength to believe.
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