My son broke his arm this past weekend while we were playing pick-up soccer at a local park. He was in goal and stretched out to save a shot. He immediately felt the pain; it was how he called out that I knew something more significant had happened. I knew in my gut that his arm had been broken, and we immediately went to the hospital.
It is interesting because, we had been talking as a family in the weeks before his injury, about the inevitability of pain in the process of our lives as human beings.
We had been reinforcing to him (and, no doubt, also to ourselves) that the pains in our lives arise in myriad emotional, mental, and physical ways. When they occur in life, we must find the place within us to move through them in the best way we can, accepting what is happening.
Pain and sadness are regular and temporary parts of our lives, but suffering can be long-standing.
We cause ourselves to suffer when we don't recognize and accept that as part of our human experience, we experience pain. When we fight these painful moments with rejection, then instead of being able to respond to the pain, there is a cascading reaction to it. When we react this way, the original pain grows into a deeper problem of suffering. This suffering shows up, for example, as feeling a loss of autonomy ("look at what I can't do now"), a perception of weakness ("I am supposed to appear strong to others"), or of victimhood ("why me?").
I was in awe of how my son moved through his initial pain with strength, courage, tolerance, and patience. He was a role model for me as he responded and remained in a calm yet centred place. He was uncomfortable, but he accepted what had happened, and at that moment, he helped me move through my pain as well, both as a mother witnessing her son's injury and as the player who had struck the ball that broke his arm.
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