Let’s just say, for a moment, that everything on earth was once harmonious.

Let’s just say, for a moment, that everything on earth was once harmonious.

Let’s just say, for a moment, that everything on earth was once harmonious.

What a thought! Perhaps one day we will see that again, but in the meantime — what? And sharply and more pointedly, what is one to do with pain? Not the stub-your-toe kind, but the in-your-face, or behind-your-back, inescapable pain that comes in knife twists.

Pain between you and someone else. Conflict and charged words. Misunderstanding. Hurt that injures fathoms deeper than a bloody toe.

There are so many delicious options!

Of course, revenge comes to mind quickly, but it’s so prevalent now as to nearly be boring. Shootings, internet ‘slapping,’ social media posts, lawsuits, and snubs might feel good — but is that who I want to be?

Alternatively, we could try pretense.

We could feign everything is OK, that the hurt never existed. But fake doesn’t wear well; it has a way of failing us at highly inopportune times.

A burble of tears at an unexpected thought, or a word dagger that slips out.

What is pain for, anyway? If it is to warn me that something is wrong, or protect me from further damage, perhaps I should pause for a moment.

Since learning often develops during suffering, maybe I will stop and listen — just this once!

From the long ago and far away, mother’s voice still whispers in my ear. Though there were times it angered me, she would often tell me to “heap coals of fire” on my offender’s head. That sounded good — until she explained what it meant. “Reward them with blessing,” she said.  Squirm. “Happy Mother’s Day to you, too,” I thought, through gritted teeth.

Some will suggest keeping a diary of all those nasty throes as a way to deal with it. Really? Focus on it?  Guarantee pain’s perpetuity?

There are more quotes about pain online than any other topic I have searched.

But there is no reason to fertilize those tender spots, or let them dictate our potential.

There’s no need to rush to fulfill our cravings for revenge and retribution.

Pain will come again, and we can always choose a nasty approach next time, if we really want to.

After the next smarting sting, could I first consider the odds before I act? After all, it could be worse — I could be ‘them.’ I could be the one causing the wounds.

We each settle on what barriers we allow to stand. And cherish.  And become our fortress. But we can still be noble.  We can be our own heroes. “Live above it,” Mamma said. Happy Mother’s Day to me!

No one is ever sorry they chose benevolence over cruelty. Forgiveness over retribution. Pity over payback. As Joseph Campbell opined, “Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”

So, ‘what’s a body to do’ with pain? For better or for worse, perhaps I could just try to avoid being one. Because the future is bigger than today.   LOL@wltribune.com.

Rita Corbett is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Weekend Advisor.


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