It has been said that noticing an unhealthy pattern in our lives is the first step to changing that particular pattern. Though recognition of a destructive, impotent, or unsound pattern is definitely important, exchanging it for something better is an arduous, taxing and lengthy endeavor.
My tolerance for physical pain is relatively high. Case in point. Recently, while on a bike ride, I heard an odd noise coming from my bike chain. Attempting to understand the clicking sound, I looked down at my chain and deviated from the pavement and went into the gravel. Steering myself back onto the asphalt, I hit the lip of the road with my tire and down I went. Assessing my left leg, I noticed a flap of skin hanging down and two other gouges emitting blood. I patted skin back into place, mounted my bike and rode on. I told myself that I’d clean myself up later.
Unlike physical pain though, emotional pain is much more difficult for me to live with because it involves other people whom I have little to no control over. I can’t just pat things back into place and peddle forward.
Some of my relationship quandaries have had to do with the closest members of my family; my husband, sons and siblings. The pattern I’ve discovered is that while in the midst of a relational perplexity, I only wanted to figure a way out of feeling what I feel; high anxiety, affliction and heartache.
I once had a yoga instructor who would tell us to get comfortable with the discomfort because it wouldn’t last forever.
Getting comfortable with emotional discomfort seems a little more difficult because any amount of time I spend with my emotional hardship feels like an eternity.
The distresses of my past are indeed in my past. They did not last forever and for this I am grateful. But, presently, I am in another relational quandary and I have once again resorted to my pattern of wanting to pat things back into place and move on beyond feeling discomfort.
Like the Spaniard, Inigo Montoya, in Princess Bride, I have come up against a closed door. No matter how many times I throw my weight up against that door, I cannot cause it to open. So, I am left standing in my discomfort.
Inigo Montoya had a friend, a giant, and it was the giant who finally opened the door for Inigo.
Why bother noticing patterns? I have no power to change the discomforting circumstances in my life. Yet, I can find comfort and peace with the knowledge that I am in the presence of the One who in time, can open the door for me. In the meantime, I get to learn how to get comfortable in the discomfort.