the gift of pain.

it’s hard to view pain as a gift, especially when you’re in the midst of it.

my birthday landed on mother’s day this year. it happened before in 1998, and it’ll happen again in 2020. and so i got a double whammy of guilt as i sat next to my mom while listening to a sermon about the excruciating pain of childbearing. every time the pastor commented on the maternal strength required to persevere through the process my peripherals would catch her sneaking a glance at me, and if that weren’t enough to signal an attitude of gratefulness on my part, a gentle pat on my knee would secure the feeling. thanks mom.

but then the sermon went on to describe this pain as a divine necessity. the grueling contractions experienced, though unbearable, are required to push and bring forth a newborn into the world. and in the end, to produce something beautiful means enduring the entirety of all that comes before it. so naturally this situation can be paralleled to the struggles encountered in life.

theologically we believe that everything happens for a reason. but it gets a lot harder to appreciate the proverb when the things that happen just so happen to hurt us; while in the midst of all the damage, it’s hard to have faith in whatever that “reason” is. just this semester i’ve found myself questioning the purpose behind my troubles: “why did i get caught with weed and wind up getting screwed over so badly?” or “what did i do to deserve this immense heartbreak?” or “why did Jared have to die?”… you can bet the only answer i could think of in those times was that God hated me. but retrospect allows me to garner a little more insight.

if it wasn’t for the amsterdam fiasco, i wouldn’t be as close to my family as i am now, and i wouldn’t be the grateful person i am today (see woven entry). if it wasn’t for danielle, i wouldn’t have reconnected and patched things up with john paul, nor would i have been able to be there in the capacity i am now in helping him with his problems (and with nicole too). if it wasn’t for jared, i wouldn’t have grown closer with khail, and i wouldn’t have this ability to put things into a better perspective (see compassion/grief entry). so while these may not be the reasons we were hoping for or expecting, the reasons themselves still exist, and therefore there is a purpose in them. after all, we aren’t the ones who define what makes an ending good or bad. we simply have to live to find out.

being home has been weird, to say the least. i feel like nothing’s changed at all, as if i’ve never left for college. i basically do nothing, and i only go out once in a while. i had a lot more eventful times in california, but i realize that there are seasons of activity and seasons of rest. mood-wise, i still have randomly occurring bouts of depression where i get completely down on myself for the tiniest things and past mistakes, but thankfully they’ve been less intense and not so frequent. i feel the only cure is time, and boy do i have lots of it now. the only problem now is for me to balance the abundance of leisure in such a way that i don’t let myself fall into dwelling on regrets. i can’t let the past bother me anymore, and i need to keep being positive and grateful in order to win this. however, i can’t help from feeling like the small red rubber ball attached to an infamous paddle — when i’m in the air i happy, positive, free, and the most myself. then without warning the string snaps me back to the bottom of a very harsh reality i continue to come to terms with. it’s a clandestine battle to regain control of my life, and my moods can motivate me or make me apathetic towards the outcome.

it’s weird seeing how the tone of this entry changed slightly.. looking back twenty seconds ago at some of what i just wrote startles even me. and i find that i do go through these weird phases of temperament, where what i say is an exaggeration of how i feel. and this post is a perfect example showing the now-reduced length and intensity of them. i feel normal and okay now, whereas literally 90 seconds ago some of my thoughts bummed me out. but part of the sudden reversion to normalcy was the decision to not let stupid little things bother me, and the fact that i’m stoked to finally be going home after spending 10 hours in a quiet office in uncomfortable work clothes played a major factor too.

i already miss california. i got to see my family and spend time with them, and it’d be great if they lived there too; it would be nice to just drive home some weekends. my mom and i have already had a couple of squabbles (on mother’s day too, go figure), so things really are as if i never left. it is nice to be home, i just wish all my friends were as close-by as, say, a drive through the canyon. but i know a few more weeks here definitely wouldn’t hurt, as i’m already starting to feel my soul recovering.. i’m actually no longer afraid to wake up in the morning, which is great.. i won’t go so far as to say thank you for the pain, because it did suck majorly when it was at its worst, but i am grateful for the growth and wisdom i’ve gained as a result, and i’m sure there will be future situations where this experience will derive benefit. and for that reason, it is a gift. it’s not the birthday present from you i was expecting, but i’ll accept it anyway, haha. after all, it’s made me into a better person.

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