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Apr 18, 2022

Pain, waiting, rising

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT

CEO and Co-Founder

You may have noticed that three major world religions had an overlap in holidays this past weekend. Muslims are currently in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan, while Jews are celebrating Passover from April 15-23 and, yesterday, April 17, Christians celebrated Easter.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I was raised in the Christian faith but, as an adult, I have adopted a bit of a “not knowing” stance in regards to organized religion. However, I often still find value in the rituals of various religious practices. For me, these rituals hold rich symbolism and valuable lessons – lessons that provide me with comfort and perspective in difficult times.

An aspect of Easter that has always resonated with me is the idea of a period of mourning, followed by a period of waiting, that then leads to a rebirth or renewal.

I don’t want to be presumptuous by speaking about religions that I haven’t practiced, but from an outside perspective, it seems that Passover and Ramadan both have similar elements of taking a pause for inner reflection and contemplation, followed by a sense of renewal or recommitment.

These spiritual rhythms call to mind something that one of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle often says. In talking about difficult times, she says: “First the pain, then the waiting, then the rising.”

Because I’ve been following Glennon for a long time, I know that she used to say, “First the pain, then the rising.” But, as she grew and evolved, she added “then the waiting” to the middle of her quote.

This acknowledgement of the waiting period resonates with me because I’m someone who wants to hopscotch over the grueling, uncomfortable waiting period. When hard times inevitably come my way, I’m willing to feel the pain, but I want to move as quickly as possible to the rising.  

In doing so, I miss out on the messy middle of sitting quietly with the pain, of mourning a deep loss, or perhaps of experiencing the impact of harm I have caused.

Over time, I’ve learned that this messy middle – this waiting – is often where the inner transformation lives. It’s the deeply uncomfortable but undeniably powerful place where change occurs.

As humans, we often find ourselves in a season of pain, a season of waiting, or a season of rising. I think it can be quite powerful to pause an acknowledge where we might find ourselves on this continuum – and perhaps also consider that every aspect of our lives might not be in the same space. For instance, your career could be in a rising period, while your relationship with your partner might be in a waiting period. 

How does the idea of pain, waiting, and rising land with you today? Is this helpful language as you think about your own journey, or the journeys of your clients? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Simply reply here if you have anything you’d like to share.

Rachel McCrickard, LMFT
CEO/Co-Founder, Motivo

Each Monday, I’ll share my perspective on topics that mean a lot to me: growth, resilience, relationships, and leadership.

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