How Do We React to Pain and Disappointment? - The Warrior's Journey®

How Do We React to Pain and Disappointment?

Author: David Causey, USA (Ret.)

Fighting through the pain. Photo by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC By 2.0

Marine biologists recently made a fascinating discovery about moon jellyfish when in their juvenile (Ephyra) stage of growth. Typically the moon jelly ephyra has eight limbs which it uses to swim through the water. Most jellies regenerate a limb that is lost to a predator. Others, however simply heal the wounded spot and live the rest of their lives with a noticeable gap among their remaining tentacles.  

However, the moon jelly ephyra does something different. It cannot regrow the lost limb and it does heal the wound. However, it will then close the gap by rearranging its remaining legs so as to maintain its symmetry and balance.  

The picture above illustrates how this amazing jellyfish reacted when six of its eight limbs were amputated – one at a time. The jelly rearranged its remaining seven legs so that they were all evenly spread out. Five subsequent amputations followed and each time the moon jelly ephyra gracefully marched along in perfect symmetry with seven, then six, then five, then four, then three, then with only two remaining legs. No matter, how badly the moon jelly was hurt, it kept beauty and symmetry in its life.

If only human beings would do the same. Too often the pain and disappointment in our lives tempts us to wallow in self-pity and bitterness. Instead of choosing to go on with life, we nurture a grudge and refuse to rebound or restore symmetry and beauty to our lives. Too often we show off our gaping wound, parade its ugliness before others, and allow our pain to define who we are. 

Has someone hurt you? Has a friend (or an enemy) wounded you so deeply that you doubt you’ll ever recover? Then remember this. The path of bitterness will lead you to destruction. Nurturing bitterness will poison your relationships and make you impossible to live with. It will make you your own worst enemy and condemn you to life-long misery. Worst of all, according to the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18:21-35, refusing to forgive others will cut you off from God’s forgiveness. 

So, for your own sake, let go of your hurt. Forgive those who have wronged you. And, with God’s help and healing, restore beauty, goodness, and grace to your life. Determine in your heart that you will be a blessing to others rather than a curse. To do so will please God and make you a much happier person. 

Saint Peter wrote, “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. For He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ 

And when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to God who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; for by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:20-24). 


Dear Father in heaven, please soften my angry and embittered heart. Deliver me from my own hatred. Heal my wounded soul and fill me with Your love. Amen. 

Information from:
Image from: Courtesy Michael Abrams, Ty Basinger, and Christopher Frick, California Institute of Technology/PNAS via NPR

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