my pain , my gain

My pain, my gain

2CO 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. Source: King James 1611, http://BibleMaximum.com

Pain is a difficult phase. It immobilizes, disrupts, distorts and delays the pursuit of life. Pain is a constant reminder of our immortality and the inevitability of eventually surrendering to a higher fate. Pain comes in many dimensions but covers all spheres. Pain can be emotional, physical, material, financial, (spiritual?) and difficult to override. I have known pain (like everyone else!!). I have cried tears till I am blue but that has not taken away my ails and the pain they bring. In all this I have come to realize that if the pain cannot be avoided it does not mean there is nothing positive beyond the suffering. Ask our mothers, after the birth pains and the screams of giving birth there is nothing that beats that momentous occasion of that bloody bundle swathed in hospital towels being held by a midwife. The result of pain.

In my life I have some pain scenarios that have birthed strength. I remember in my immaturity in the early twenties; taunted and insulted with what I thought was the most vital component of my life( manhood !) , taunted and told that I was worse than dead and told I was not worthy all that I claimed to be. Pained, angry and acting out of immaturity I swallowed more than 20 Salbutamol tablets, locked myself in the bedroom and waited to die. A good friend came to my rescue and after a painful, humiliating process I was saved from death. From the pain I went through I learnt that emotional pain was not the end of the world and I could be stronger than the person who seeks to denigrate, reduce, embarrass and humiliate me. This has carried me through some worse moments in life. Every time I face an accuser, I look beyond the pain of their insults; I look at the strength I will gain by standing firm and not falling or stooping low. That has been my gain. I have gained strength from pain.

Having come from school with not enough points to go straight to University I had to settle for the next option: get a job, support my hardworking father and study using my earnings. I took a job with a large blue chip retail company after passing their aptitude tests with brilliant colors. Then my pain began, instead of being remembered as the brilliant kid with a great potential I was relegated to being a stand in for the general hand and at best I was delegated to window dress the mannequins on display. I remember one day while sweeping the pavement of the shop during peak hour, I was accosted by guys who had dropped out of school before O ‘Level who were now dealers in town and who had always scoffed at my bookish ways. One of them recounted how I was Head boy at primary school, secondary school, 1st deputy Head boy at high school and chair of the national youth Synod. Then he comically asked how I could settle to drive a wire broom in the pavements of the CBD? What he didn’t know is that I also cleaned the staff toilets and made tea for the manager. Painful, yes. However it taught me a tough resolve that whatever the pain humiliation and embarrassment brought me, I was not going to lose sight of my goal. Pain gave me vision.

When my father passed on, I had the greatest pain. I lost a mentor, a friend, a teacher and a wise counsel. I painfully learnt that no one lived for ever. I went through a depression and almost lost purpose. That was the pain. But from that pain I learnt that my father had a vision, a vision greater than his capabilities, a vision that meant him toiling endlessly to give us an education so that we would not have to toil heavily in life like him. From the pain of losing my father I gained a legacy.

When growing up, my eyes were bloodshot. I was constantly taunted because it was believed that red or bloodshot eyes were a result of smoking dagga. I remember being introduced as a cousin brother of a brilliant former student when I went to apply for a Form 1 place. One look at me and the Head remarked in my face that I was a potential for trouble with my red eyes and that I would never measure up to my cousin. The pain of that slight gave a resolve. I went on to be the first child Parliamentarian in Luveve, was Head boy and overhauled my cousin’s performance at O’level.

I gained resolve from pain. I can write till tomorrow. I can write of the pain of rejection, emotional abuse, being put down, being judged wrongly and being plainly hated. All of us can write about such. We can start a pain blog and weigh on who carries the most pain. All this will not help if we do not seek to see beyond the pain. All this would be in vain if we did not thrive to strive beyond the pain. It would be a painful life to live seeking pity and sympathy for the pain one is going through. A good step is to make the pain a gain by deriving lessons from all pain episodes of our lives. After all tears, emotions, screams, pleas and victim labels there awaits a step upward.

Pain must be gain for the sun will surely rise tomorrow.

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