Overcoming pain

He paced the room, his mind racing. "This can't just be it," he said to himself. "There has to be something more, a lesson, a reason."

He couldn't accept that he had simply made a mistake, that the hurt he felt was just a consequence of his actions. "No, this is a test," he told himself, attempting to infuse meaning into the situation. "It's an opportunity to grow, to learn."

Friends expressed concern, noting the drastic shift in his behavior. "Are you sure you're okay?" they would ask gently. "Absolutely," he'd respond with a too-bright smile, "I'm just making the most of this situation."

He clung to the idea that his pain had to serve a purpose, never admitting that sometimes, pain had to be felt, not stepped on to reach higher ground.