The notion of living life to the fullest while experiencing a season of pain and hardship seems at odds with reality. One need only read the newspapers (or look in the mirror) to see there is an overwhelming amount of suffering in the world around us. Every day. Without ceasing.
When life is taking us to task, and we’re forced to deal with the shitty bits of life we all so desperately hope to avoid, the last thing that seems attainable is life to the fullest. Is it even possible?
Mahatma Gandhi said,
“In the midst of darkness light persists.”
Therein lies the secret to living life to the fullest in the midst of pain. The pursuit of a remarkable life doesn’t deny the reality of pain, or even try to diminish the significance of it, but rather, recognizes that every individual has the freedom to choose whether to focus on the darkness or the light.
Even in the darkest days, there is beauty to be seen and experienced. In the midst of sorrow, there is still joy to be had if we look in the right places, if we even choose to look at all.
We need to exercise our minds to know what brings a smile to our heart. We need to know where to find light in the darkness. It always persists. For me, I always find joy in the smile of a baby, or staring into the night sky at fireworks. I am enthralled by the artistic expression of a van Gogh painting, and will never tire of strolling through Central Park as I did on my wedding day.
How does one live life to the fullest in the midst of pain? By pursuing the things that bring joy, despite the pain. By pursuing the light in the midst of the darkness. The pain won’t disappear, but there will life in the midst of it.