I’ve been thinking lately about the things in life that shape us – those events along the journey that mold us into what we become.

In the span of the last 2 weeks, I’ve visited several blogs that have sent me back in my memory to significant “life-shaping” moments. First it was a blog of someone who’d lost a parent in the last 2 years. I could relate to that one – I lost my Dad less than 2 years ago. Then it was a blog of someone whose friend was dealing with her husband’s suicide attempt. I could relate to that one too. Nearly 10 years ago, when I was pregnant with our first child, Marcel went through a really rough time and thought I’d be better off without him. Thankfully he survived the attempt. And then, within the last week, I visited the heart-wrenching blog of someone who’d lost a baby. Once again – I could relate. My son Matthew was born dead a few years ago. I haven’t found a blog of someone who’s been raped, but if I did, I could relate there too.

Sometimes, it feels like I’ve been given more than my fair share of pain. But, haven’t we all? There are so many kinds of pain…in my family alone we’ve had to deal with infertility, loneliness, depression, cancer, death, failed adoption, mental handicap, unemployment, divorce, near bankruptcy…and the list could go on and on. There is pain everywhere and everyone gets a piece of it. Yours might not be the obvious kind – linked to a significant event or cause – but it’s pain nonetheless.

Despite all of these things that have happened to me, I don’t think I would change my life if I had the option. Yes, these events have been devastating and painful, but they all contribute to who I am. They’re like the deep black strokes on a painting. The picture wouldn’t be complete without them. I am who I am because I’ve lived through pain. The people who’ve come and gone in my life – even my son who never breathed – have changed me and molded me. I wouldn’t want it otherwise.

I had a meeting with Steve Bell yesterday (a local singer-songwriter). He’s going to work with us on some projects, and suggested we use his song “Deep Calls to Deep” for an audio-visual presentation we’re creating. The name of the song has been in my head since then. Deep Calls to Deep. I think the deepness in my pain calls to the deepness in yours, and that’s what builds friendships and community and trust. I think without the pain, our relationships wouldn’t be the rich tapestries they are.

Another Steve Bell song helped me get through the stillbirth of my son. It’s called Faith’s Song and it’s about his sister losing a baby. It gave me comfort to hear the story of someone else who’d lived through my pain. It felt like a lifeline reaching out to me in the storm.

That’s what we have to do with our pain – use it to build hope. That’s how we redeem those gut-wrenching, agonizing moments. Turn them into something meaningful, not only for us, but for those we touch along the way.

Shared pain lifts us up and gets us through the darkness.

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