I love when my son cooks with me. Against all of the recommendations of the multitude of parenting websites, I allow my 2-and-a-half-year-old son to stand on a dining room chair at the counter with me as I sauté and chop, stir and fry. One of the first times I let him play chef with me, he decided to grab the edge of a pan that I was cooking with while it was on the stovetop. I had warned him that it was hot and that if he touched it he would get an “ouchie”. In traditional 2-year-old fashion he didn’t listen and the next thing I knew he was screaming bloody murder. Luckily he didn’t burn his hand and had only touched it long enough to feel the pain from the heat. After the wiping of tears and the kissing of boo boo’s, I decided to let him stay at the counter and “cook” with me. The pain he felt not only taught him the lesson to not touch things that mommy says are hot, but me allowing him to stay up there also taught him to not quit something even if the experience is unpleasant. The pain he experienced was an opportunity to build strength, resilience and learn a valuable lesson.
At one point of another in our life we all experience emotional or physical pain or both. It’s just part of the wonderful human experience. Our lives are shaped by these experiences. Pain is a very powerful opportunity to grow or to perish. We decide to learn the lesson, take courageous action and make a change or refuse to recognize the lesson and ask, “Why is this happening to me” and then wonder why we are so unhappy.
There have been many times I didn’t learn from pain. I was either too scared to change or I was too ashamed or stubborn to acknowledge the mistake I made. The moment I began to realize that my pain had a reason and that it was a wake-up call, my life changed. The moment I embraced the pain and didn’t run from it, I started to find the thing I had been chasing for the majority of my life; a tranquil and grounded mind.
On Thanksgiving most will mention how thankful we are for our families and friends, the abundance we might have or the physical objects we may posses. And while I am endlessly grateful for my amazing friends and family I am also giving thanks to pain that has shaped my life. For without this pain, I would not be the person I am today. I am grateful for the hard times and for the moments of absolute fear. I celebrate my rock bottoms past present and future. They have made me strong enough to survive an eating disorder, stay focused during financial hardships and steadfast after job layoffs.
As I always say, God never gives you anything you cannot handle. So I figure God must think I am one big badass. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for making what I do so worth doing. XOXO!