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4 entries from September 2013

Pain is inevitable; learning from pain is optional

In my profession, you hear a lot of pain filled stories. You hear how people’s lives have been wrecked.

Sometimes, by their own choices and often by the choices of others.

In fact, my job has taught me one thing.

Pain is inevitable for everyone.

Sometimes, we do it to ourselves

        We quit when we should have endured.

        We let our temper get the better of us.

        We break promises…

                …act rashly etc.

These mistakes cause us pain and reverberations can haunt a person.

Sometimes the pain is done to us.

        Someone betrays us

        We become the object of someone’s temper tantrum

        Someone leaves us

Acts of God occur that cost us people we love.

No matter the details, I am convinced that all of us are destined to experience pain. True, deep pain that echoes deep in our soul. Pain that causes more pain. Pain that causes our bodies to physically react.

We can try to avoid it and many people go to great lengths to do that very thing.

Unsuccessfully, but they/we try.

So what I usually do is ask people a question.

What are you learning from this pain that will help you to be a better person?

We can’t avoid pain, but we can avoid learning from it.

Too often we waste our pain.

We rant and we rail against it.

We wish for it to go away.

But we often fail to embrace it’s greatest gift; the power to change us into something that we want to become.

Pain is awful.

But it can change us. It can show us the dark corners of our hearts that we often choose to ignore. It can light up our opportunities to grow. Take the person who is going through a divorce after being cheated on in a fifteen year relationship.

That pain is real. It is awful. It is gut-wrenching.

It’s also an invitation to examine his or her own soul for what they did to contribute to the divorce and the affair. I know this is emotional dynamite. I’m not suggesting they deserved to be cheated on, but I am suggesting that failing to learn about the potential areas for growth in their own life is a waste of that very real pain.

To me, this is the greatest tragedy. To be stuck living the same cycle over and over because we’re too afraid to engage the potential of allowing the pain to transform us.

I hate pain. I do.

But I hope I don’t waste it.

Points to (≤100 words) Book Style

Good parenting begins in your heart, and then continues on a moment-to-moment basis by engaging your children when feelings run high, when they are sad, angry, or scared.

Gottman, John; Goleman, Daniel (2011-09-20). Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child . Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

The best person I know

This is my wife. IMG_5217

In a few days, she'll be completing her college education.

A few days ago, she started her graduate degree.

She's the most amazing person I've ever met.


No exaggerating.

I could talk about how her entire life, almost everyone told her she wasn't smart enough to actually finish school or that she wasn't that smart at all and how she's overcome all of that.

She inspires me. The fact that she has overcome those voices is one of the reasons.

But there's more.

Eleven years ago, she gave birth to our first child.

She has successfully turned a closet of a fitness center into a multi-site conglomerate. When the owner of that closet turned true business wanted her advice on what to do with the business, my wife accurately predicted that the model she was using would fall out of favor with the public and she should sell while the selling was good.

The owner refused.

They parted ways.

The business fell apart as my wife predicted it would.

In the last four yeas, my wife has successfully run our office business and done the lion's share of the business work for the business that I co-own with two other people.

She has been a parent to three amazing girls and one awesome boy. She went to school while being pregnant and doing all of the above.

She is involved in our community and the lives of those around us.

When I was in graduate school, she put wood floors in our entire upstairs.

And, they look amazing.

She's changed faucets and done a thousand other things around our little corner of the world.

In the last four years, I've watched her write papers with a child crawling up her back or while breastfeeding.

She's not slept because of sick kids and still handed in her assignments on time. She's pulled a GPA near perfect 4.0.

She's not missed a parent teacher conference or a major event of her kids life. She's supported me and helped to make me a better person.

Let me tell you about her character.

She's compassionate, and loving. She's gracious and kind. She can process her own emotions and thoughts in a way that never ceases to amaze me. She's loyal.

She wants to grow and be better.

She's an outstanding mother.

She's an incredible wife.

She's strong in body, mind and character.

She is literally the anchor for this world.

I could write for a long time but I won't. If she finds this post, she'll already by mortified.

I will end with two things.

She has taught me what it means to love someone completely by loving me with 100% of her being.

This post is to simply celebrate her and all that she is to me and our family.

I look forward to working with her someday as a fellow counselor. I can't wait to see what the rest of our story unfolds.

She is truly the best person I know.



Pondering Change: Book Style

And so we retreat, back to what we’ve always known. There is a suffocating comfort to it all. Letting go is not easy. The hoarders we see on TV who are stockpiling cats and newspapers have nothing on us emotional hoarders. At least the things they refuse to give up create physical piles before their eyes. They stink and cause a scene that can’t be ignored. On the other hand, the dreams you’ve always had but refuse to actually work on tend to create hidden piles you don’t have to look at unless you really force yourself to. The hopes you refuse to edit and learn to master don’t rot so tangibly— at least at first.

Acuff, Jon (2013-04-23). Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters (p. 106). Lampo Press. Kindle Edition.