Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul. – John Keats
At the height of the Starr chamber, a wonderful friend handed me a 3X5 Index card with the above quote handwritten on it. I continue to hold on to the card. I think we all have been “schooled” by pains and troubles. Some may even feel like they never graduated or they are still living out a Kafka play. But when you do come out of a period that seems unbearable and finally have time to reflect, don’t you feel a little wiser and a little bit more spiritual about life in general ? Don’t you see your past troubles a little differently than when you were going through them, and someone else’s problems with a little bit more empathy?
We have all seen a great athlete, a brilliant scholar, or a talented musician and thought, “ What that young man or women needs is a little humility, schooling, maturity, losses, etc. before that chip is removed from his/her shoulder and they can go on to true greatness.” Keats says pain and trouble is “necessary.” There were times when I pulled out the card and looked to heaven and said, “I can use a little less necessary. God, I already get the picture.” But now that time has passed, torture forgotten, and wounds healed, I can say those events helped shape a better soul. Certainly not a perfect one, far from it, but a better one.
It may not help to hear you are being “schooled” while going through a difficult time, but the reality is that pains and troubles are an essential part of the molding process and the final product if we allow it, is a work of God.