“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

When life serves you a platter of pain, it’s easy to forget that it was once heaped with hors d’oeuvres of joy. I’ve come to realize that the universe has a twisted sense of humor, giving us moments of bliss only to yank them away, leaving us to nurse our metaphorical hangovers. But here’s the kicker: the depth of our sorrow is directly proportional to the height of our happiness. It’s like being on a seesaw; for every high, there’s a corresponding low.

Consider love, that most intoxicating of emotions. To have loved is to have opened oneself up to the inevitable heartache that follows loss. Yet, who among us would opt for a life untouched by love, purely to avoid the pain of its absence? It’s akin to refusing an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris because you dread the flight back home. Sure, the return journey might be bittersweet, but you got to see the Eiffel Tower!

Memories, those sneaky, uninvited guests, have a way of crashing into our minds at the most inopportune moments. One minute you’re minding your own business, folding laundry, and the next, you’re sobbing into a sock because it reminds you of someone’s toes. It’s absurd, really. Yet, these flashes of memory serve as poignant reminders of our capacity to love and be loved in return.

It’s a divine comedy, this life. We’re given these incredible moments, these connections with others, only to have them taken away. And in their absence, we’re left with a gaping hole, a pain that’s as real as it is metaphorical.

But here’s the thing: that pain, as excruciating as it may be, is a testament to the love we’ve experienced. It’s a badge of honor, proof that we’ve lived and loved with all our might.

So, the next time you find yourself mourning the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or even a particularly charismatic family pet, remember that the depth of your sorrow is a bizarre, yet beautiful, measure of your capacity for love. Embrace the pain, laugh through the tears, and know that in this cosmic riddle of existence, your ability to feel so deeply is both the punchline and the prize.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing 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 ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.