Friday, June 24, 2011

Hard Times

The other day I talked to a man who has been through hell in recent years. He has experienced difficulty and loss in virtually every area of his life. He has suffered physically, relationally, and vocationally.

 I asked him, “What has life taught you in recent years?” His answer gave me a lot to think about. He said, “The trauma I have gone through has taught me what is important and what is not.”

 What a tremendous thing to learn, even if pain was the teacher.

 I have always believed that the only bad pain is wasted pain – pain that doesn’t get turned and used for good in our lives.

Have you been through a hard time? If so, what lessons did you learn form it? If you could learn what is important in life and what is not, your pain would have been worth it


  1. Jim,
    That story could have been about my life. In recent years I had a very traumatic change in my life. My wife of 14 years walked away from our marriage, I had to move out on my own, I lost my job of 13 years due to downsizing, and the people I thought were friends turned their backs on me. Through all of this; I held onto God. He used this pain to bring me back to him, and renew my faith. I had a strong sense that if I was to survive this catastrophe in my life, I would need his help and blessings. I am happy to say that God provided. I learned, like your story, what really mattered in life.

  2. What Is Emotional Sobriety?
    Hint: It doesn't necessarily equal "happy, joyous, and free."
    Published on July 21, 2011 by Ingrid Mathieu, Ph.D. in Emotional Sobriety
    What is emotional sobriety? Some might think that it means being "happy, joyous, and free," a common adage in 12-Step meetings, taken from AA literature. Of course, people like this definition. It means that if they work a good program, they will achieve physical sobriety (abstinence) and become happy in the process.

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this definition puts a lot of recovering people in a tough spot. For example, what does it say about a person's emotional sobriety if they are having a hard time? What if they are afraid, anxious, sad, angry, confused ... the list can go on and on. Does this mean that they aren't emotionally sober?

    I believe that emotional sobriety is less about the quality of the feeling ("good" or "bad") and more about the general ability to feel one's feelings. Being restored to sanity isn't about getting the brass ring-or cash and prizes-or being "happy, joyous, and free" all the time, but it is about being in the present moment, whatever it happens to look like. What are you experiencing right now? And how about now? Can you be present to all of your feelings without any one of them defining you?