Today I’m Giving Thanks For My Pain

I had a very inspirational post planned for you today, but then something happened that knocked me off my feet. I can’t think about anything else, so I hope you enjoy the lesson I learned from my misery today. Literally.

Last week I blogged about the loss of my friend Terri Krause. The outpouring of support on her Facebook page and here on my blog reminded me that our pain over her passing is a direct reflection of how much she meant to us all. We hurt because Terri touched us. My lesson today begins there.


Romeo and Juliet

Last year I had the most amazing experience of my life (with the exception of the lives of my two daughters.) I fell madly in love with a woman who touched me in a way that no one has. In my heart, Romeo and Juliet is a high school infatuation compared to what I felt for her. Guys, compare riding a ten speed to piloting a fighter jet.

I can’t describe how much I loved her or how devastated I was when we parted. Words (even for me) pale to describe the agony that followed and as you’ll see in a minute, the feelings that still take hold of me sometimes when we are in touch.

Instead of trying to describe how I felt, I’ll share an experience I had a few weeks ago.

My mother asked me to trim around some bushes for her, a process that would take about 5 minutes with an electric trimmer. I didn’t want to get grass stains on my new sneakers, so I took them off and used the trimmer barefoot.

My father arrived minutes later with advice (no surprise).

“Get some boots on,” he said. “Your bare feet are a perfect ground and if you hit that wire you’ll kill yourself.”

“I’m okay with dying,” I said in a flat, serious voice.

My own comment stopped me cold. It wasn’t a smartass remark. It came from somewhere deep inside me. When I heard those words coming from my own lips I recognized an important truth about my life.

I’m a lucky guy. I’m incredibly thankful for my experiences in this world and if God wants to take me, I’m ready to go.

Please don’t think I’m going to jump off a bridge or something. It’s not that sort of feeling. It’s one of utter fulfillment and maybe the realization that I’ve seen what I came into this world to see.


The wonder of God’s creation smiled at me with hazel eyes and a head of curly black hair. The memory of that love will burn inside me forever. No matter what happens in my future, I have been blessed to experience the joys of this love and the love of my family. No material success can compare to those things.

If I am lucky enough to experience real love again I will be doubly blessed. I’ll never give up looking, but having this experience has changed me in a fundamental way.

In the last few months I’ve been able to embrace the truth without fear of what it says about me. Mistakes don’t change my value in this world because I am beginning to understand how small I am.

At times I have also felt what it means to love your enemies, because the outcome of any feud or battle isn’t significant.

A feeling of real peace has washed over me as my sadness ebbs.

Back to today…

Today I got some news that stabbed me hard. It was debilitating. It knocked me so flat I couldn’t write the upbeat blog I had planned. I went for a drive to the library to return some books and somewhere along the road an insight gave my day an entirely new meaning.

What if I am someone else’s Romeo?

What if things I say unknowingly hurt someone this deeply?

Today my pain taught me a new level of compassion. To be careful with my words around those I’ve loved in my past. To be sensitive of those raw nerves and to be understanding when touching a nerve causes them to lash out.

What has your pain taught you?


15 Comments on “Today I’m Giving Thanks For My Pain”

  1. Very inspirational post here. You’re right in what you say CJ. I was with someone for three years, engaged for one, then he ran away with my best friend who lived next door, was married and had one child. I guess into everyone’s life a little rain must fall. But it’s the thunderstorms that grab our hearts and twist them like a tornadic left over that stop us in our tracks and make us say “what if”. I’ve come to the conclusion that God and family are primo in my life. Trusted friends are right below that. And if God wants me to have a Romeo, he will some how find me. I don’t believe in the ‘quest for love’. I never did. Though many of my friends do. I’m happy the way I am now and keeping busy. Yes, I stop and think sometimes how it would be nice to have a special someone now and then, but then like that old song Que sera what will be will be I move foreward. You have a good outlook, so at least you have your toes (pardon my pun) and nose turned in the right direction which is not upward, but straight ahead. I wish you all the best and good luck in all you do. You deserve it. Have a beautiful day. 😎 ♥

    • cjwestkills says:

      Thank you Khloe.

      I think sometimes the best way to find something is to just go about living and see what the world brings to your door. Less pressure, more discovery.

      Thanks for a wonderful comment.

      • Diana says:

        Great attitude, CJ!

        Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. ~John Lennin

  2. Pam Stack says:

    CJ – you have many more years to live and learn. But I thank you for this lesson today.

  3. Lil Gluckstern says:

    I hope you live long-you give too much pleasure, and life seems very rich for you. I have learned through deep pain that I can endure a great deal and still find pleasure with friends, in nature, and online :). I’m guessing that I’m old enough to be your Mom, but I still love life even if it’s harder as I get older. And there’s the pleasure in your daughters-so much to relish, even in the light of loss.

    • cjwestkills says:

      Absolutely. I’m not giving up. I’m embracing everything life has to offer. I think I’ve just stepped back a little and put the spotlight on the events before me and let them unfold.

  4. sscarlott says:

    My husband committed suicide a little over seven years ago…with a 12-gauge in the backyard, while I was home. It took me a long time to recover from the pain, misery and guilt over his actions. Not a day goes by that my gut doesn’t clinch at the thought of that day, but in the process of healing I learned that I’m stronger than I ever imagined and that you never truly know the pain in another’s heart.

    A few year later, I started dating again and eventually fell head over heels in love like I’d never been before. I believed fate has smiled on me, giving me so much happiness I thought I’d bust from it. When that relationship didn’t work out, I was devastated all over again. I was convinced I would never love again. In my desolation, I gave up my quest for romantic love, after all, I had great kids and family and friends that I loved deeply, and that would have to be enough. Not only that, but I’d never have to worry about being heart broken again. Much like you, I really didn’t much care what happened to me.

    Luckily, God had other plans. A couple of years ago I met a man, who despite my warnings, wouldn’t give up on me. He finally convinced me to give him a chance, and I thank God every day for his persistence. We are getting married in October and I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life…it just took me 50 years to get it right.

    I’ve come to believe that sometimes God gives you what you need instead of what you want…until one day you wake up and discover that what you needed has become what you love. CJ, I pray that you find what you need, what you want and what you love all wrapped up together. Don’t give up, you might just find it when you least expect it. Thanks for sharing.

    • cjwestkills says:

      Wow. What a great comment. Thank you for sharing your story!

      You remind me of a great country song, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

      I’m so glad you found love again and I wish you the very best this October and for many years to come.

      Thanks for sharing!

      • Sue Violette says:

        Wow. What a story. Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad there were more romantic plans for you!!

    • Debbie says:

      Good luck on your upcoming marriage. You sound like a very stong person. Thanks for sharing….

  5. El Morris says:

    You have an wonderful and
    amazing sensitive soul CJ. If not for pain, we would never appreciate the beauty of pleasure. I know it is all part of GOD’S plan to help us see….and not with the eyes but with the heart….

  6. Edna Muratet says:

    It will take quite a while to heal!That’s how you know it was real! God never shuts a door without opening a window.When your ready your heart wil know it.In the meantime children are abusy blessing.Bless you!Keep writing for you and us.Thank-you for letting us share your life also.My cousin’s son ( country back-up guitar player has lots of his new music on his web site.He has alot of songs that make us all feel good!Give him a listen!Hope he brightens your day.He does mine!

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