Can Pain and Peace Coexist?

Can Pain and Peace Coexist?

Today I asked myself “Can pain and peace coexist?” The question arose because I was talking to a friend who was comforting me as I processed some painful grief. As she consoled me and I shifted out of feeling self-pity for my loss I realised I had not already found out how she was doing because I was so consumed with my issue I then asked my friend how she was. “Well” she said hesitantly, “I’m OK but, I just found out my sister went into the hospital today and they discovered bone cancer throughout her body.” I was hindered to hear of this shocking travesty. I knew she and her sister were close and this would be hard. My thoughts raced to “how selfish of me to burden her with my issues when her poor heart is heavy with her own grief and fear and loss.”

Suddenly, my own personal pain disappeared like a small puff of smoke in a fierce wind. Instead, my heart filled with compassion for my friend and her sister. Peace welled up inside me as I internally prayed for them. I then listened for the right words to say. “I’m so sorry, that must be really hard,” I said.Then I said in amazement “How could you listen to me and my loss,
( which seemed unimportant now I thought), when you just found out such devastating news? ” Camelia responded enthusiastically that I should never hesitate to reach out to her and proportion what’s going on with me.She explained that her heart feels happier when she gets out of herself and focuses on another. She assured me that she likes being of service and feeling useful and the act of helping another softens her pain.

In that moment my personal pain and grief felt very far away and instead I was aware of a soft presence comforting both Camelia and me. I believe the angels drew near and supported and held us in their loving embrace. This shared bond of human experiencing and grief touched both Camelia and me. The shared grief opened us to the truth that no one gets to escape experiencing some pain in this life, but that it is possible to invite peace into the room to sit with pain and lessen the sting. Our shared honesty and compassion comforted us both and aided each of us in looking at life by a bigger lens than that of our own. She was my teacher of compassion that day and I knew in my heart that both pain and peace can coexist when love and compassion are present.

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