Blessed With and From Pain

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Blessed With and From Pain

Why Pain

Years ago when in the flat lands of central Eurasia, known in American grade-school text books as the steppes, I stood at the side of one of Russia’s superhighways, smooth and sleek like a well curried horse showing its muscles and tendons through the flesh of this flawless roadway.

cream milk yogurt siberianWomen from several nearby farms, competitors for market share in a now capitalistic society, hardly knew how to conduct business in a country recovering from several generations of communism where the state took care of all that. With the Berlin Wall down, these women raised and cared for the cows, pasteurized the milk, sold and distributed milk and milk products that would end up in Saratov or possibly even Moscow.

As I felt whizzing cars tornado by, the various women became the objects of my attention. A few of the racing cars stopped. Usually it was the women who got out and asked to taste the goods of the various vendors sitting by the side of the highway trying to sell pasteurized milk or yogurt. A few of them had flowers or some kind of baked goods that they also tried to sell.

As one or another of the peddlers was rejected, I could almost feel the smart of rebuff of something they had spent time on, done their best to make appealing and then…with an air of pride and arrogance, the farm women had to cope with the dismissal of stiletto clad women from the big city. The forced smiles and attempted understanding marked their weathered faces.

Pain helps growthIt was hard to watch and even though I didn’t understand much Russian, body language, gulping to make sense of the affronts they received from the rich city women was difficult. After working very hard, the farm women could have been overcome with bitterness, but somehow they managed to control themselves and speak gently to the intruders from far away. In those moments, the question of the scale of their pain entered my thoughts.

Moving to a larger idea of pain and its universality, I was reminded that there is the same pain in North America, in Argentina and Brazil, in Spain and the Netherlands, in Australia and China, and in Russia and the United States. This kind of suffering goes on everywhere in the world.

Surely, as the Sufis taught, we are all given in life a certain amount of pain, actually blessed with and from it, because it is through pain that we learn the lessons we came into the world to experience, take in, feel, and meet with joy and gratitude instead of self-pity and self-centeredness.

Pain teaches most of all what to escape from and what to encourage and promote in ourselves. As such it is a very important part of life!

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2016, All rights reserved Rebecca Field

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