All of life is constantly teaching us lessons. I watch my 16 month old daughter as she concentrates on a new toy. I can see her brain working. As she tests out standing for the first time, I see her bones and muscles learning the lessons of gravity. Our spiritual selves are like that – always young, always learning.
Iyanla Vanzant talks about using that knowledge to move past emotional pain. Once you’ve learned the lesson of that pain, move forward.
It can be easy to twist this advice to blame the victim: “you’re suffering because you haven’t learned your lesson.” But that’s not what I intend for anyone to take from this post. Suffering is universal, and learning from our pain does not guarantee that we will be immune to that pain in the future. However, if we don’t try to learn from our pain, we will miss the chance of redeeming it. Christianity teaches that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. I take this to mean that God, who never intends evil to happen, can and will try to bring something good out of evil. Maybe the lesson is that you need to slow down. Maybe the lesson is that you simply need to get more sleep, or be more gentle in certain relationships. At a very basic level, the fact that we all suffer lends us all a chance to act with empathy, and to create community. That may be the only lesson available, but it is one worth cherishing.