the good thing about great pain

There are moments in life when all is right in the world. When you feel like, “It just doesn’t get much better than this.” Moments that come when we least expect them. Great moments. If we’re lucky, we’ll get more than a handful of those in our lifetime.

And then there are moments in life when all is not-so-right in the world. When you feel like, “When will this part be over?” Moments that come with pain and heartache, disappointment and despair. Not-so-great moments. If we’re lucky, we’ll get just a few of those.

Well, I had this thought the other day: it’s sort of the not-so-great moments that actually make the great moments great. Or at least make them that much better.

Life is full of ups and downs. We have to take the good with the bad – or rather, the bad with the good, if I’m trying to be optimistic.

We could guard our hearts and live timidly in an effort to avoid great pain – but also avoid great happiness. Or we could live passionately and feel deeply – feeling great pain… but finding even greater joy.

I’ve heard it said that “there is no hate without love.” Like in order to hate someone, you have to care about them. Well, isn’t there also no happiness without sorrow then? Like we wouldn’t know what happiness was unless we had felt sorrow. We would just be living these monotonous lives, emotionally flatlined.

The Oh Hello’s put it well in one of my favorite songs, Cold is the Night:

“Without the bad, the good disappears.” 

We’re not guaranteed much in this life. We’re not guaranteed it will be easy. We’re pretty much guaranteed that it won’t be. But one thing we are guaranteed…

We’re guaranteed that life will go on. It’s like that song the Weepies sing, The World Spins Madly On. The world will keep turning. The sun will set on today. And tomorrow will come.


So whether you are experiencing a great moment or a moment of great pain, recognize it. Appreciate it. Embrace it. After all, we wouldn’t have one without the other. And wouldn’t we rather have both than neither?

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