I believe that pain is a good thing. Not physical pain, but the pain of loss, of the anguish that comes when your whole world splinters into a million needles that drive themselves into your heart and you know that no matter how hard you try, there is no way to put it all back the way it was. I believe that this pain helps us, in our lives, to become better than we were previously.
Although the pain that I’m talking about does hurt, I think that it drives us to improve. When my closest brother, Jacob, died of cancer, I experienced pain. I was engulfed in the loss that I couldn’t accept, and it threatened to throw me over the edge. I was forced to find the reasons that would allow me to persevere and keep going—my family and my friends. My love and need to be there for them gave me reason to live, and this gave me the strength to get through my loss.
But it is not only strength, however, that we are given by going through this pain. After my brother’s death, my parents got a divorce, and by going through these two things I was able to comprehend how other people felt, and appreciate fully what they had endured to become the people I saw before me. Whether they had lost their best friend, stopped talking to their parents, or just lost the job they had had for six years, I realized that the events that they had gone through had shaped them, just as much as my own were shaping me. Pain gave me a deeper view of the people that I thought I knew.
In fact, every person has gone through or will go through pain. But let me say this: I would rather feel the pain, than feel nothing. No matter what happens to me, no matter how excruciating the hurt, no matter how close it may bring me to that fragile line labeled madness, I will never wish the pain away. Pain lets me know that I’m alive, that I care. When my parents separated, I wept for the brokenness, the knowledge that their love was gone and that my siblings would grow up in a shattered family. I understood, and felt the pain because I cared for the people that this would affect. If I did not feel this way, I wouldn’t be able to call myself human.
Indeed, for humankind, pain is inevitable. It is there, in your life, guaranteed to pay you a visit some nondescript day when you least suspect it. I’ve buried my brother, witnessed my parents’ marriage fall apart, and struggled with depression as I’ve tried to keep these things from affecting my three younger siblings, but I don’t regret the pain. It has allowed me to be able to understand, sympathize with, and help all the people in my life. Pain has changed me, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.