As news of my divorce has continued to sink in I've found myself in demand as a relationship counselor. Over the past couple weeks, there have been a couple different conversations, some intentional, some by chance, that have helped me realize that in the pain I am currently going through, I have been given a new level of responsibility. By enduring when hard things are hard, I've been given the chance to sympathize with those that are in similar situations, caution those that are on the verge, warn those that are taking their relationships for granted, and encourage those that appear to have it all together.
We are only given what we can handle and sometimes I wish I wasn't pegged as someone who can handle this much. But in the hurt and confusion, I am finding that my candid story and where that road has lead me thus far has been a story that others have needed to hear as much as I have needed to tell it.
Each of us has been entrusted with a story all our own. But not entrusted so we can keep it under lock and key. No. Entrusted so we can understand it, learn from it, and share it with those that come after us down a similar path. If our pain only manifests itself in the negative, it is a loss for everyone. When our pain paves the way for someone else to endure the same thing, but with the understanding that they'll make it through just like you did, it is not in vain.
Uncle Ben told Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility" and he was right. Our pain is a new kind of power we've been given to find those fighting the same fight we've fought and we are fighting. The power to offer hope to those fighting without any. The power to claim "it will be okay" when there is no indication that it will. The power to lean into the pain to find the power there and accept the responsibility to carry it through to its conclusion.
If you're in the midst of pain, realize you're in the midst of acquiring power. It doesn't make it easier, but it does make it matter.