Your Pain is not in Vain – Take #2

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Your Pain is Not in Vain, that it what the intent of this post is to convey.

Would you have ever thought that as a teacher or maybe just as a person who happens to be a teacher would ever experience pain? No way! Not in the education profession. If I were to poll the population in question I wonder what results would find. Now I’d say that this is not a topic that I enjoy talking about at all but I’ve had a revelation. Pain has a purpose. Pain is necessary for you to first identify that there is an issue somewhere whether physically, mentally or emotionally that needs attention. Second, pain is a reminder of the imperfect creature I am. It says hey Dene, here is a challenge for you that if you overcome it, has the unlimited potential to make you more than you were, or improved from yesterday to today.

What is this pain?

Pain just like people, comes in many different shapes and sizes. It doesn’t favor anyone but has the ability to land on us all. So many times I’ve wanted pain to end, but as I continue to exist on this earth I acknowledge a different perspective of the pain. The pain helped me. The pain reminded me. The pain grounded me. The pain hurt me real “good.”

When my father passed away from this earth I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. In my mind, my dad (and mom who still lives) was the reason I strived and kept going and moving. I emulated them and cared so much about their approval and affirmation. My dad was my strength and when he left me; I felt like Samson (the Bible character) that my strength had been wrongfully taken from me. Nevertheless, my dad was ready to get the heck out of here after having raised seven of us to be productive contributors to the society in which we live. He said give when people take. He said smile in the face of adversity, and it will come! He stood strong when others decided to sit down. He rescued me in times I knew it was impossible. He was in essence the hero that with my mother are the reason I live and breathe air today. Thus, when he took off I felt like I didn’t have that wind beneath my wings anymore.
In retrospect, I wonder if that’s why he took off, because the pain of his departure propelled me into the purpose that he often spoke of in conversations I’d had with him. He believed in me when I didn’t know to believe in myself or what to believe. So imagine the pain and devastation of a strong father saying goodbye to this life? Well I had to understand and embrace the pain within this situation. Why? Because there was something to be gained from the pain. If my father was here today, he would say I don’t know why you’re crying, get up and do what is in you to do! Strength came in the pain of my father who was “half” of my strength, moved on to a better place. So I’ve fully embraced the conversations I recall having with him, so much so that I passionately pursue them in the knowledge that he knew me! He knew I could, and now I can see it for myself! That’s not to say that I still don’t have doubts but the pain reminds me that yes, I can, even when the odds say I can’t!

As an educated black male, the pain, the stigmas and the burden that I carry to bring change to eyes blinded by untruth, injustice prejudice and stereotypes that would suggest that I’m not good enough, or the realization that people look carefully when I walk into a room because they are unsure of who I am, or to allow me the opportunity to be who I am without first passing judgment on me. That’s painful. It’s a pain that shouldn’t be but even in that, it’s a pain that has benefits. You say I’m “this” but I am “that.” To parents that have qualified me as illegitimate or unworthy of operating in the capacity in which I do, to those that are naysayers that have attacked the very place in which I sit and stand, that’s painful. It’s true. But at the same time, there is a thank you somewhere inside of me. I am more aware now and because of it, I go harder. I work harder. I strive harder, despite those that for whatever reason diminish your capacity with their thoughts, words and deeds. It’s pain that I endure because I know that someone may look to me as an example of pure love, genuine care and concern and a peacemaker, just like my father.

I don’t wanna (yes I said wanna) be perfect. I want to work on continuing to make myself better. Perfection assumes that I’ve learned it all, seen it all, done it all, and that there is nothing more to strive for and achieve. I’ve learned to revel in my imperfection and despite the pain of the moment that may reveal weakness and may cause you to be embarrassed around others who may be better than you, or perpetuate themselves as such, it is an opportunity to identify where you may be weak and work toward making yourself (myself) better than I was the day before. I’ll never stop trying to be more, do more, at every chance I get. I’m not what I’ve gone through. Tomorrow isn’t promised so the pain, as hard as it may be to accept at times, is necessary for life and certainly not in vain.

So if pain greets you at the front door, know that it has value and shift your perspective to the place where you can see that value and use it to be better than you were prior to the pain.

That is all.

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