Pain

Be God’s Pen
The Light of Christ

Waves

The following poem by Elsie Robinson is titled “Pain” (Poems that touch the Heart compiled by A.L. Alexander, pp. 185-186):

Why must I be hurt?

Suffering and despair,

Cowardice and cruelty,

Envy and injustice,

All of these hurt.

Grief and terror,

Loneliness and betrayal

And the agony of loss or death—

All these things hurt.

Why? Why must life hurt?

Why must those who love generously,

Live honorably, feel deeply

All that is good–and beautiful

Be so hurt,

While selfish creatures

Go unscathed?

That is why—

Because they can feel.

Hurt is the price to pay for feeling.

Pain is not accident,

Nor punishment, nor mockery

By some savage god.

Pain is part of growth.

The more we grow

The more we feel—

The more we feel—the more we suffer,

For if we are able to feel beauty,

We must also feel the lack of it—

Those who glimpse heaven

Are bound to sight hell.

To have felt deeply is worth

Anything it cost.

To have felt Love and Honor,

Courage and Ecstasy

Is worth—any price.

And so—since hurt is the price

Of Larger living, I will not

Hate pain, nor try to escape it.

Instead I will try to meet it

Bravely, bear it proudly:

Not as a cross, or a misfortune, but an

Opportunity, a privilege, a challenge—to the God that

gropes within me.

First I plan on doing an analysis of the poem and then go into its heart, the deep feeling level. In the first nine lines Robinson details some of the things that hurt us as human beings. Lines 10 to 16 talk about how the good suffer and “Be so hurt/While selfish creatures/Go unscathed?” These lines allude to Ecclesiastes 7: 15-16, “. . . I have seen it all, from a righteous man perishing in his righteousness to a wicked man growing old in his wickedness . . .” (The New English Bible).  While leaving the mystery of good and evil dangling in the wind and without sophistic evasion, Robinson (in lines 17-19) answers her question simply, “Because they [the good] can feel. Hurt is the price to pay for feeling.” With simple elegance she makes her point.

In lines 20-23, she explains “Pain is part of growth.” In lines 24-30 she elaborates on the previous point. With lines 31-35 she develops the concept, “To have felt deeply is worth/Anything it cost.” Lines 36-37 extend her first point, “. . . since hurt is the price/Of Larger living. . . .” Larger living implies living your full potential. In lines 38-43 she speaks of handling pain bravely as “. . . a challenge—to the God that/gropes within me.” A God that gropes within sounds like a God searching for a greater consciousness (Read Jung).

Whew! What part of me wrote those two paragraphs? The professor? This poem is gut-wrenching if you let the words evoke feelings from the painful parts of your life. Hurt, pain and salvation through feeling deeply. And in feeling deeply, you will experience both heaven and hell. And if you can experience hell, you can certainly live bigger. Quit constricting yourself to meet other people’s expectations. With all your heart, follow the God whose plans grow within you.

Photo Credit: Photo by Rusaila Bazlamit at Flickr Creative Commons.

Be God’s Pen
The Light of Christ
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