Alchemy for Pain

Sunday April 21, 2019

I have been interviewing counsellors this week.

Not for myself, this time, but for my daughter who is being badly bullied at school. The school has recommended that she speak with someone. Not just about what has happened over the last few months, but about much, so much more.

I won't give more details. She's happy for me to tell you about the bullying, because she now sees that it's all about the bullies, not her – but the rest is personal. Fair enough.

We've decided to go with the woman with whom I spoke this morning. She used two phrases which resonated with me. She said, "I will teach her to be truly herself, and to be true to herself," and "I will teach her how to turn her pain into strength."

My husband is baffled by this counselling business. After all, our daughter has a loving family – surely, she can talk to us (and yes, she does). She has her Godparents who love her – surely, she can talk with them (and yes, she does). Why does she need a professional? He's rather hurt.

The way I look at it, there are some DIY jobs that are, if you have the time and inclination, DIY. There are some jobs which – just aren't. The trick is to know which ones you can tackle yourself, and which ones for which you call in a professional. Even I (total klutz that I am) could probably apply new mastic to my shower tray. Fitting a new bathroom suite? For that, I'd call in the professionals.

This is a job for a professional.

Back to the phrase, "Turn her pain into strength."

This week is Holy Week in the Christian calendar. I know I need to be wary about talking about religion here, but please bear with me for a moment.

I follow the teachings of a Franciscan Friar, Father Richard Rohr. In his meditations in this Holy Week, he has written about how the pain and sufferings of Christ on the cross are transformed into love, acceptance and compassion: his open arms an embrace for the world.

This is truly turning pain into strength.

My daughter needs to understand herself and to understand her strengths and to then be true to those strengths.

She also needs to take her pain: the pain of betrayal and persecution, abandonment and loss, and turn it into strength, compassion and a passion for ministering to the world.
I have faith that she will do that.

It is so easy, it's natural, for pain to become bitterness and for betrayal to turn in on itself. It takes courage and faith to transform that hurt into beauty and strength. And often the help of a professional.

I know my daughter, with that help, will turn her pain into strength.

And, I ask you, what pain do you have? What can you turn into strength? And do you need the help of a professional?

A Moodscope member.

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