• Leah Van Someren

Do you allow pain to transform you?

2020 is getting a pretty bad rap…

“It’s the worst year ever.”

“2020’s cancelled.”

“It’s the year that Murphy took over the world with his law and everything went wrong!”


And the overwhelming majority of the cultural narrative is sprinting as fast as it can toward 2021…


“2020 was unprecedented (everyone’s favorite new word) but in 2021, everything is going to go back to normal.”

“At least it's a new year soon...that has to change something, right?”

“2020 was going to be my year but I’m telling you, 2021 is it for sure!”


The last 365 days have been hard in new ways humans have never experienced on a global scale. In no way am I denying that. We, as a planet, are trudging our way through a world-wide Trauma, its longterm effects completely unknown.


Although everyone’s story is different, pain is pain and you cannot compare one’s pain to another without forfeiting compassion. And so, first and foremost, I’m really sorry for any and all pain you’ve experienced and I’m with you. I do not know the specifics of your story. I don’t know the texture, detail and shades of darkness, but I do know pain.


I know anxiety, uncertainty, panic, chaos, depression, loneliness, overwhelm, shutdown, anger, frustration and conflict. I know the deep, deep desire to escape and I know fear.

I also know - am getting to know - Love.


Not the kind of Love that ignores reality but the Christ kind of Love that embraces reality with an open heart, full of grace and truth.


And over the last year, as we’ve become more acquainted, Love’s gravity kept us circling one lesson: Choose to allow pain to transform you.


Talk about tough Love - not that being tough on someone is love, rather, Love is tough. Love looks at pain without running, without hiding, without fighting, without medicating. Love looks at pain in its tear-brimmed eyes and, with compassion, sees.

The truth is, pain has a purpose. It’s meant to transform you from one state of being to another. To dissolve pride and insecurity in one fell swoop. Pain gives itself away as an opportunity to transform its participant into a greater display of joy. A richer embodiment of humility. A complete display of surrender. A deeper well of compassion. A fuller, more tangible representation of Love.


We - you and I - get to make the choice to follow tough Love’s lead and allow the pain from 2020 to transform us. If we don’t, 2021 will be no different.


For even if the pandemic suddenly disappears and there is no more isolation, and even if the racist system is righted and the law gives justice to all, and even if environmental woes somehow subside and the earth stops wailing, and even if political chaos is ushered out and some normalcy is welcomed in things will not change. For even if all these things become reality, the pain they exposed in our own hearts will continue to fester, suffocating us slowly and perpetuating our problems, unless we allowed ourselves to be transformed when we came face-to-face with it.


So, I implore you: look without running, without hiding, without fighting, without medicating. Look at your pain, past and present, and see. Have compassion for it - for you and others - and choose to allow pain to transform you into who Love created you to be.