No Joy Without Pain

Strangely enough, Grey’s Anatomy spoke some truth to me today. Most of us have heard the saying, “Hurt people hurt people,” but have we ever really delved deep into that statement? What does it really mean and in what ways do we hurt others?

Sometimes traumatized people lie. They lie to you; they lie to themselves.” Amelia, Grey’s Anatomy

Lying is incredibly hurtful. It damages relationships severely. It breaks trust, and a real relationship without trust is impossible. Lying steals a person’s right to make a decision with all the information. When you lie to someone, you are manipulating an outcome to your advantage rather than letting them live an honest life. You steal their truth. 

When you lie to yourself, you steal your own truth. You steal your own chance of living an honest life. 

Why do we lie? Some will claim it’s to avoid hurting someone else. I think it’s because we want to avoid hurting ourselves. We all have hurt in our lives, no one is exempt from the bad things life brings. That pain makes us want to avoid more pain, so we lie to keep us from feeling any more hurt. Unfortunately, it brings hurt onto those around us. So, now we hurt and so do they. We lie because we don’t have the courage to tell the truth. We lie because the truth is very often harder to say than the lie. We lie because it’s easier. 

“You run from pain…. We all do. Something terrible happens, we blame ourselves and we don’t want to feel it, so we run. We run from joy too, because we think we don’t deserve happiness. It’s a package deal, there is no joy without pain.”  Meredith, Grey’s Anatomy

Running from pain. I spent a couple years of my life doing that. I hurt so badly, that I could no longer stand to feel it, so I shut it out. I pretended like I didn’t hurt. Whenever I felt pain, I took a deep breath, swallowed it down, and kept going. It became easier as time went on and I thought I was doing great! I didn’t wake up crying anymore and I didn’t break down at the grocery store. It wasn’t until I looked in on my boys one night as they were sleeping and wondered to myself why I couldn’t feel love for them, that I realized I hadn’t just shut out my pain, I had also shut out my joy. I was robbing myself of feeling anything. To avoid hurt, I was doing more damage to myself and keeping my boys from having their mom healthy, whole, and feeling love. I was hurting us all. 

Joy and pain go hand in hand. When we run from one, we run from the other. Running from our own hurt and the hurt we cause others, can make us feel like we don’t deserve true joy and happiness. We settle for things and relationships that are “less than.” We are not good enough to have true joy, so we settle within ourselves for temporary moments of happiness. We continue to hurt people which makes us run even further from the truth. Eventually, there’s a moment where you realize what you’re doing, and you have a choice to either turn around and go back and deal with your hurt, or continue running, moving further away from anything real and true.

That night, watching my children sleep, was my moment. I had to choose to face my pain or keep running. I knew that not facing my pain was going to hurt my boys far worse than me. I knew that the damage I could inflict on them by not dealing with my hurt was greater than the pain I was avoiding. I knew I was stealing their chance to have me be the example God meant for me to be. Not showing them my pain was robbing them of seeing how to deal with their own pain. I was teaching them to run. So, I turned around. I faced my pain and hurt, and I still have to some days. It’s not an easy process, it takes time. But I know I am growing in ways I never would have if I kept going down the road of running way. I also know my relationship with my boys has never been more true and honest. We have endured trauma together and we are all working on facing it and being more honest in our lives. They are stronger than I ever knew, and I would have missed that if I kept running away. 

We can never know true joy in life without experiencing pain. We need to acknowledge and feel the hurt so we can find the true joy in the safety and love of God. Bring your hurt with you as you move forward so you can work on it and heal from it. You can’t really ever move forward without it, or it will always draw you back to where you started. 

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