After my most recent braces-adjustment, my teeth hurt almost as bad as they did when I first got my braces on. At lunchtime I went to bite into my juicy, delicious hamburger and...couldn't. I had to cut it up into bite-sized pieces and chew very slowly lest my teeth clamp together too hard and send pain shooting through my mouth.
At first I was frustrated that I have to experience this soreness all over again, but after a while my frustration yielded to gratitude. I am glad my teeth hurt. It means my braces are doing their job and my teeth are straightening. If they didn't hurt, they would probably still be crooked and all this awkward metal in my mouth would be for nothing.
So bring on the pain! I mean, in little, managable doses, please. That I can subdue with some Tylenol.
I think it's the same with life. Pain is necessary for us to become everything Heavenly Father sees in us. It hurts, and we don't like it, but if we never experienced it, how would we progress? We would never be happy because we wouldn't know what it felt like not to be happy. We would never feel the stretch in our souls as we rise to meet our challenges, the sweet satisfaction of overcoming, that quiet peace that comes in the midst of our pain "which passeth all understanding."
This life is a chance for us to grow, learn, and become more like our Heavenly Father. Pain is a necessary component in teaching us those lessons.
But Heavenly Father doesn't just throw pain our way and watch us squirm. He loves us too much for that. He's given us a Savior who, through the Atonement, has experienced every kind of pain possible, much more than any of us will ever have to suffer. He can comfort us, strengthen us, heal us, and hold us. And He will. If we just turn to Him.
And let's not forget that, between the pain, Heavenly Father gives us exquisite moments of happiness, moments when the curtain is lifted just a bit and we get a glimpse of heaven, a reminder of all that can be ours when the pain is done.
Not that we should all jump up and down and wish for pain. But at least, when it comes, we can remember that it is not without purpose.
Braces: They straighten your teeth and teach you life lessons.
I'm going to go slurp some applesauce now,
The Brown-Eyed Girl