#1: Yourself. Even harder than changing other people’s minds is changing our own minds. Our mindsets influence our habits, behavior, and ultimately, the outcomes in our life. But changing our mindsets requires self-awareness and taking personal responsibility for every thought and action , an endeavor that can take a lifetime to perfect. Luckily, there’s no “deadline” by which we have to have ourselves “perfected,” and no “test” date for which we have to cram all our self-improvement studies. Our work here is not done until our very last breath, and I for one, am glad to still be doing it.
Which brings up a whole new topic – the “problem of pain” I know, CS Lewis wrote a book on the subject, an academic study of pain, but for the one who suffers unrelenting pain, physical or mental, unexplained and untreatable, can one actually “unite that pain with the sacrifice of Christ and find solace?” I know the age old maxim, “Offer it up”, but a human being can be so consumed by incessant throbbing of pain throughout night after night, sleepless – the minutes like hours, offering it up just doesn’t help much. Padre Pio, with the stigmata, got through it somehow; he was a Holy Man, revered for his endurance through intense suffering, an example for us all. But, for those lesser mortals who have not reached that level of holiness, it becomes a nightmare of epic proportions – praying only for an end (as in death). No one of us can reach into the mind of another to understand suffering and pain – it is a solitary journey – easy to succumb to despair and wonder if there is a good God after all.
Perhaps the reason we don’t find editorials on the subject is that there are no words to describe it adequately – or, perhaps there’s just too much suffering in the news day after day, and one more column about personal pain is overkill.