Growing Pains

“Growth hurts because change isn’t easy, that’s why they call it growing pains”

When I was a kid I lost my dad while he was yet very young.  This fact alone left a mark in my spirit that, to this day, I’ve never gotten over.  That being said, I’ve got very few memories of him but the ones that I do have a very vivid.  For example, I can remember as a child that he loved to joke around and wrestle with me. One of the ways he did is he would fart and trap me under the covers to choke me out.  He thought that was hilarious, I remember his contagious laughter.  I know that sounds disgusting and from what I remember it was horrendous, his gas spelled like propane and boiled eggs mixed with vinegar….I  laugh and I gag to this day when I think of it.  I have a few fond memories of him but that is one of my most vivid memories if him.  

Thinking back, I do have another memory of my father that I’ve pondered more and more recently.  I can recall as a child being tucked into my star wars themed bed and nodding off to sleep surrounded by the dated wooden paneling and 70’s green shag carpet which were the prevalent decor themes of the day.  As part of my nighttime ritual, I would always ask the most perplexing questions right before bedtime, I think I still do, which is probably how my insomnia all started but that’s for another blog.

I was probably around 5-6 years old when this first began happening to me.  I would be jerked awake by these shooting pains in my legs.  I would scream for help from my room to no avail so I would fall out of the bed onto the floor and try to crawl my way over the shag carpet to my parents room to tell them about my immensely painful experience. All I could muster to say is “it hurts.” Eventually they would hear my cries at night in enough time to meet me in the hallway.  My father would comfort me, reminding me, “it’s ok, daddy’s here” and he would massage my legs until the pain subsided and I could walk again.  It was a very traumatic experience, I remember the panic I felt so well. The pain was so bad it would take my breath away and cause an anxiety attack on top of the physical pain.

Now I know that that very traumatic experience is quite common among children that age, it’s simply known as growing pains. I don’t know the science behind all this but I’m just relaying my experience. However, if you had tried to convince me back then that those were “just growing pains” I would have told you that you were lying and that those pains were the result of someone trying to kill me by beating me to death because it truly felt that way.  Isn’t that the case though?  If we aren’t sure of where the pain is coming from, the source or what caused it then we simply feel like it is a plot on our very lives.  

I’ve been thinking about this more lately because I’ve been experiencing a different kind of growing pains.  It’s more of a mental or maybe even a spiritual experience than anything else, I have very little alarming physical pains anymore and maybe it’s cuz I’ve learned to ignore them..but again, that’s for another blog.  I’ve been experiencing what I guess will call spiritual growing pains.  These pains are typically brought about by unsolicited change in my life.  This type of change feels like situations that are forced upon me and I feel like I am backed into a corner.  I feel like the universe has handed me a raw deal and I don’t like it at all.  It seems unfair and my first instinct is to come out swinging.  I lash out at everything and everyone who’s close to me but that typically doesn’t bring about a desired outcome.  So, then I am left with some simple options.  Do I keep fighting and exhaust myself completely by taking stabs in the dark or do I practice some acceptance and try to acknowledge what the universe is presenting me.

The spiritual answer is just to accept the lesson that’s being dealt to me but I fight it kicking and screaming.  It feels like I’m dying and someone is literally bludgeoning me to death….kinda like when I was a kid and was having actual physical growing pains.  Back then, the pain was very literal and it resulted in growth..painful growth.  These days the pain is just as real but it’s on a spiritual level.   So, today I try to welcome these changes as they come my way.  Sometimes I do better with it that others but I’ve started to recognize this at the onset or quickly thereafter and I do not expend anywhere near the energy I did by fighting it previously.  One of the quotes I think I read recently best describes this chronic cycle is “growth hurts because change isn’t easy, that’s why they call it growing pains.”  I pray today that I would continue to recognize the opportunity for growth that comes with change….even if it feels like I’m dying.

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