As a nation, why do some of us feel so much pain right now? “Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.” –King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 1:18. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness. So if you are not feeling pain right now, you’re a fool.

Between the opiate epidemic, social injustice, political infighting, and other unresolvable problems, so many of us are hurting in ways we had hoped Americans would never have to hurt. Even if we ourselves aren’t being hit with any of it, we do still feel the pain that our loved ones, friends, and fellow human beings ARE being hit with. (Unless we’re a fool. Then we don’t feel anything).

Pain is a biological mechanism meant to bring about change. When my fingers hurt, it means I need to change my grip on something. When my foot hurts, it means I need to stop, take off my shoe, and shake out a pebble. When my back and chest hurt it means I forgot to take the pins our of my new shirt again. When my heart hurts for my fellow human beings who are being treated unfairly because of their gender, or their color, or their mental health, or an addiction to a drug, or their financial misfortunes, it hurts ME because I’m a good person with a strong conscience. I want for you the same things I want for myself. Happiness. Health. Comfort. Safety. Peace.

Even though it hurts to see the lack of these things because of the unfairness of life and of social bullying, I am not sorry that I feel the pain. It’s proof that I’m not a sociopathic hate-monger. It’s proof that I am growing in wisdom, (as the bible would teach, it’s because I’m NOT a fool).

If you are one of those who is feeling that pain, don’t let it defeat you. You feel the pain because you are a good, wise person. If pain’s purpose is to promote a change, then relieve your pain by finding some way to become part of the cure. “Love not put into action is only a word.” —Mother Theresa. It doesn’t have to be big. You can do small things too. Like donate $25 to a charity that feeds kids on the weekends in your local school system, or if you really need a boost, join a community group that does good in an area that you feel personally drawn to. Clean a park. Donate shoes. Donate food. Work in the food bank one day a week. There are thousands of choices. Don’t let your pain be a point of empty suffering. It’s something to be proud of. Use it to contribute in any small way to making this a better world for the people you love, even if those people are strangers. Even if the pain doesn’t go away, it will seem worth it when you see that someone benefitted from your willingness to respond to it. ~ James Johnson

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