Day 133- Pain is a Feature, Not a Bug

God: Hello.  You’ve reached the “Life” help desk.  How may I help you?

Me: I’ve got a
problem with this “Life” you sold me. It’s full of bugs.

God:  OK. I understand you’re having some issues
with the “Life” you’ve got.  I’m very
sorry about that and I want you to know I am here to help you and we will get
this worked out.  What seems to be the

Me: Well, things
will be going along just fine.  I’m
healthy. Family’s healthy.  The job’s
OK.  Then, something will happen.
Something breaks. The furnace breaks down.
The car won’t start.  It’s

God: Well I can
certainly understand your frustration when these unexpected and unwanted things
come up in Life.  However, these things
aren’t bugs. They’re actually features I put into the program.

Me: Features?  What?
Who wants annoyances in their “Life”?
I signed up for a smooth experience. I want things to work as I’ve
planned them out.

God: Well, while
that may seem desirable, what we have found in our experience is that
when “Life” has no challenges the users tend to grow bored.  Even worse, they never develop any sense of
empathy or compassion. They never develop a sense of patience. In fact, they just don’t develop.

Me:  OK.
Well, maybe I can live with these little annoyances. I can see why you
put them in. I do feel good when I overcome a challenge. And putting my skills
to the test every once in a while does give me a sense of adventure, but I
still have a complaint.

God: OK. I’m
listening. What else?

Me: Some of these
challenges are just too much. I mean.
Come on.  It’s one thing when I
get a flat tire. What’s up with childhood cancer? What about tsunamis that wipe
out thousands? And parents losing children? How are we to be expected to endure
that and why should we have to?

God: These are
excellent questions and ones we have been getting from our users for millennia
now.  What we have found is no matter how
“minor” the unexpected events or “bugs” as you called them are the users always
think they are unbearable as unbearable is relative. Let me give you an
example. When you were a toddler and you didn’t get what you wanted right away,
you thought it was the end of the world.
You didn’t understand waiting until tomorrow to get that sucker you
wanted.  You didn’t understand waiting
five minutes. As an adult you see that toddler stretched out on the floor
screaming his lungs out and you realize his tears are greatly exaggerated way
out of proportion to his actual “loss”.
When he scrapes his knee and screams bloody murder, you know how much
worse it could be and you know how quickly he will heal and the pain will be
but a memory and you calm him. But, for him that scraped knee might as well be
a stab to the heart.

Me:  So, you’re comparing the loss of a child with
a scraped knee? Come on.  There is no
comparison. One heals in a matter of minutes. The other never heals.  Never. For the rest of my life I will have to
endure this.

God:  Yes.  And….?

LIFE. That’s forever.  

God: You’re going to
live forever?

Me: Well, you know
what I mean.

God: I’m not sure I

Me: Well, I won’t
live forever in this body, but I will live forever.

God: Yes.

Me: So, the pain
will last forever.

God: You’ll still
have the pain after you’ve died, seen the whole picture and are reunited with
those you’ve lost?  Does the child still
have the pain after the scraped knee has healed?

Me: Well no.  I guess the pain won’t last forever, but it
will be a long time.

God: What’s a long
time? When you were a child, Christmas came once a year, just like it does now.
But, when were a child, next Christmas was “forever” away.

Me:  Oh… I see. I guess it is a matter of perspective.  I’ll have to think about that one.  While I’ve got you on the line, I have another question.  I was taught in Sunday school this isn’t the
way it was supposed to be. This is Plan B. Plan A was we were supposed to live
in a perfect garden with no death, no struggle no pain.  Is that true?

God: In a word?  No.

Me:  What?

God: If I had an
ego, I’d be insulted that you think so little of me that I screwed up Plan A
and had to turn to Plan B, but I don’t, so I’m not.  First, you should know that the story in
Genesis was never meant to be taken literally. There are no talking
snakes.  Second, the story is one of
birth, growth and taking responsibility. I didn’t punish you for a mistake.  How petty do you think I am?  You chose to come here. This place was
never intended to be easy.  You are
co-creators with me.  You are powerful
beyond your wildest dreams.  You are
infinite. But, you have chosen to limit yourself and to experience these things
for the growth of your soul.  You are
here learning and teaching and learning from others.    Genesis was intended to show that I am the
Creator that you are the pinnacle of my creation and that you chose to have
dominion and stewardship over the Earth. I beg your pardon.  I never promised you a rose garden. (sorry, I like to sneak in a little joke every now and then).

Me:  So, you’re saying this pain. This unbearable,
excruciating, seemingly never-ending pain is all part of the plan?

God: In a word.  Yes.
The greater the pain the more the opportunity for growth.

Me:  Oh….
Well, when I signed up for this, I didn’t know it would be so hard.

God:  I understand.  Really I do.  Trust me.  One day you will see it
was all worth it.  You actually already know you just forgot.  Just hang in
there.  The “bugs” are actually features.
It’s all working just as planned. You’ll be glad you signed up.

Me:  Well, I can’t see that now, but I hope you’re
right. Thanks for your help.

God: Call back any
time.  I’m always here.

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