Life is great. Life is hard. It is full of joy and full of pain. We are showered with gifts and stricken with grief.
To live a full life, avoiding pain and grief is as self-defeating as avoiding joy. Just as the appreciation of a warm spring day is amplified by months of uncomfortable cold, joy in life is amplified by the moments of pain.
Through inspiration and spiritual growth, we usually find that we are able to laugh more, smile more and be energized by gratitude. We also may find that we cry more, grieve more deeply and are more in-tune with the grief of those near us.
When we choose to truly experience life, we are accepting a package that puts us in touch with our hearts, with what we may think of as humanity. This package contains heartfelt pain and sadness that can be overwhelming at times. It also carries tools to live each moments to the fullest, to generate memories of joy we can carry forever, to face fear and reject worry and to experience a connection with God and other people that assures we never have to feel alone.
We also have the choice to reject this package as I had done for much of my life in the past. Years ago, I accepted the apathy package which contains few tears and denies pain. Its tools include workaholism, predictability, obsession and compulsion, limited intimacy and profound loneliness.
It is a tough choice to make, and getting in touch with your humanity can be very frightening. For me, the time came when the thought of someday looking back on a cold, lonely, directionless life was much more frightening.