Our pain is in the measure of our blessing.  What we have lost is a reflection of how we have loved.  They return to us, ourbeloved, in flashes of memory, in moments of sweet, anguished recollection.  We remember the smile and grieve that it is gone. We will never again touch the hand that guided us, or sought us out. Still, would we wish never to have known that hand, never to have seen that smile? God has given. God has taken away. Our pain is the measure of our blessing.

—Rabbi David Wolpe

Blessings and pain—two unlikely partners—are in the dance of our lives, their steps measured in the music of our existence. They move in rhythm, tracing the shadow and light of our journey. Our pain—sharp and piercing—isn’t a curse, but a mirror reflecting the intensity of our blessings. It is the depth gauge that echoes the profoundness of what we have cherished, of what has filled our hearts.

Picture love as a vibrant summer’s day, the sun in its fullest bloom. The warmth and radiance of our loved ones touch our lives like sunbeams—the joy they bring, an effervescent laughter in the wind. But every sunset promises a night, and loss comes as the dusk of that splendid day. The deeper the love, the darker the night. Yet it’s this darkness that reveals the brilliance of the stars. Each twinkle, a memory.

Our loved ones may depart from the physical realm, but they remain as potent echoes in our minds and hearts. Each remembered moment is a revenant, a flash of memory that brings with it both sweetness and pain. An echo of a laugh, the scent of a shared meal, the sensation of a shared touch—all these act as fleeting specters of our past joy.

We mourn the smiles now hidden behind the veil of time—grieve the loss of a hand that once offered guidance and sought companionship in ours. Their absence fills us with longing, an ache that reaches into the marrow of our souls. But would we trade this, the pain and the longing, to have never known that warmth, never shared in those smiles?

Imagine a canvas never touched by the artist’s brush, a life never painted with the hues of love and loss. It remains untouched—but equally, it remains blank. An untouched canvas might be free of the chaotic splashes of paint, the bold and sometimes jarring strokes—but it’s also devoid of the masterpiece it could have been.

Would we have preferred to live a life without love to avoid the pain of loss? If pain is the echo of love, then let our hearts be chambers that resonate with it, a testament to the blessings we have received. To feel pain is to have been blessed, to have loved. It is our silent badge of honor, our private measure of the blessing of love we were lucky enough to have embraced.

So, let’s not shun the pain. Instead, let it serve as a beacon, guiding us back to the beauty of our blessings—the memories that we hold dear. Our pain is indeed the measure of our blessing, a scale not of our hurt, but of our love.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.