Some years ago I read Tim Hansel’s book You Gotta Keep Dancing: In the midst of life’s hurts, you can choose joy. I was too young to know much about the real hurts of life, but this was a book I went back to again and again. In fact, when we moved from Dallas to Atlanta, I left more than 1,000 books from my library behind, but this is one non-scholarly volume I kept.
Hansel is someone who knows almost constant physical pain as the result of an accident. In the introduction, he shares a bit of prose that he found meaningful. The original author is unknown:
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my bread with you, and sometimes share a sorrow too – as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can sit an hour with you, and I can share a joke with you and sometimes share reverses, too – as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my flowers with you and I can share my books with you and sometimes share your burdens too – as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my songs with you, and I can share my mirth with you, and sometimes come and laugh with you- as on our way we go.
There isn’t much that I can do, but I can share my friends with you, and I can share my life with you, and oftentimes share a prayer with you – as on our way we go.
Psychologist and author Sheldon Kopp said, “Life can be counted on to provide all the pain that any of us might need.”
I suspect none of us think we need any pain and, if we did, life has more than met that need. The challenge is, if we take that pain and bottle it up, it very well can embitter and even cripple our souls. However, if we can find a way to share it, we might find fellow pain-bearers who will help shoulder the load. Suddenly we learn and grow. Our pain seems less oppressive, and, miracle of miracles, so does the other person’s.
by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal