Friday, February 20, 2009

Joy in Pain Part 3

In a comment to my first post on Joy in Pain, Joseph shared a teaching of St. Seraphim, that to those who "asked him why he carried a bag of heavy stones on his back, when he was obviously in enough pain and agony with his health, [he would say] "O my dear brother/sister, I am merely troubling he who troubles me!" Around the same time I read an article in Pray! magazine that pointed out that in Psalm 62 we are encouraged to "pour out [our] hearts to him, for God is [our] refuge." These two statements tell me that I can do at least two things with my pain. I can either embrace and welcome it, "thumbing my nose" if you will at the one who brought pain into the world. Or, if I've got complaining or whining in my heart, I need to pour that out to God so that once it is out, He can pour in to my heart something so much better - Joy.

I find it not at all coincidental that these two teachings should be presented to me as I prepare to celebrate the season of Lent. The season of Lent is a Joyful season, (many of the Eucharistic prayers for Lent remind us of this joy) so it's no surprise to me that that God is calling me to refocus on the joy in my pain. In fact, as I said in my reply to Joseph's comment, I had initially only planned on a 2 part Joy in Pain 'series' because I was feeling a little stuck in the whining side of my pain. But thanks to these two halves of a newly forming whole, I get to move on, not just to "part 3" in a blog, but to a closer walk with the Source of Joy.

I can't write in any great depth on either of these statements today, but that's not the point in sharing them. The point is that they are there. The point is that I have the next clue on the treasure map. The point is that, recognizing I was stuck, I have now been given the leverage to get un-stuck. What an exciting, joy filled Lent I have ahead of me! And, by Easter, or Pascha as it is called in the East, I should have a lot more to say about "troubling he who troubles me" and "pour[ing]ing out [my] heart to... God".

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