By Christie Batt
One day while walking, a man fell into a deep, dark hole. His anxious cries for help first attracted a priest, who told the man he would pray for him. Next appeared a doctor, who stated that she would write him a prescription for his anxiety. Yet the man still remained in the hole.
Finally, a friend of the man appeared and jumped into the hole. When the man asked him why on Earth he had done that because now they are both stuck, this was his buddy’s reply: I’ve been in this hole before, my friend, and I know the way out.
Adversity is a part of life for everyone. Sooner or later, each of us must face a thing we think we cannot do or a situation that feels too bleak to manage.
The loss of a loved one or a way of life. An inability to shake ourselves free of traumatic experience. A general sense of aloneness or disconnection that isolates us and blocks us from experiencing joy.
The purpose of pain is growth.
While it would be wonderful to grow only through pleasant experiences, most of us can meaningfully evolve through the kind of pain that motivates us to seek self-awareness and spiritual connections, the kind of pain where we feel ourselves to be deep in a hole with no imaginable way out. We can somehow find strength in vulnerability; we can connect with our higher selves through community.
All of us are connected to one another through a vastness of shared experience. Whatever our difficulties, there are others among us who have suffered them as well, who have been in the hole of loss or pain or loneliness and who have found ways to climb their way back to wholeness.
When we reveal our pain and our difficulty to others, we become vulnerable but we also attract the assistance of those who have walked the path before us.
Becoming open to receiving help is the first part of the natural cycle of adversity. When we dare to receive, we can heal, and in our vulnerability, we become relatable so that we then can give. Being of service is the second part of the cycle; having grasped the hand of our fellows who have gone before us, we can then reach a helping hand to others who feel themselves to be drowning in a sea of overwhelming experience.
Through adversity, we can gain the awareness and perspective that fosters a community of giving and receiving. Especially those who have been in the hole and found their way out can meaningfully help those still trapped below to emerge into a safe haven of strength and connectedness. Through adversity, we emerge our most beautiful.