"Pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth"
Ugh. If that's true, I am the Paul Bunyan and Babe, the Blue Ox of spiritual growth, combined. And with a side order of Godzilla and King Kong for those long, dark nights of the soul to spare. I have done pain - I have lived in it and feasted on it and denied it and wrapped it around me like a blanket until I fairly suffocated in it.
I've mastered pain.
So why is it, then, with all my experience and mastery, that I am still caught off guard by it? Why am I still surprised when it tethers me to its twin, fear, and traps me in its embrace? Why then, if pain is the touchstone of spiritual growth, do I feel so small?
I have learned so much in this almost too-examined life that I lead, and if I am honest (and, here, among the intimate anonymity of these pixels, I am), I will say that pain has not trapped me in its embrace, actually. Rather, I am the captor in this little tango; I cling to it like love or breath. It is impossible to grow, so long as I refuse to learn the lesson of my pain and let it go.
I have learned this lesson, again and again. It is so easy, so familiar, so safe to choose the path of pain. It is so easy to stay small, unchallenged.
It is so easy to remain a slave. To stay stopped by the Sea and wait for all that pain that's there, gathering at the horizon, gaining speed and rushing headlong towards you, spears at the ready. I know. I've done that, again and again. And I've welcomed all those wicked charioteers like long lost comrades-in-arms.
But... once we were slaves; now we are free. That has to mean something. I can stand, immobile, unchanged, waiting, or, like Nachshon, I can chose to leap. I can choose to grow, to spread my spiritual wings and soar (or stumble, or walk, or skateboard) into the unknown. I can choose to leave my pain at the shore, and dance a path towards freedom.
This is it. The time is now.