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Joy

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True Joy is Born of Pain

I don’t have to tell you, if you’re a mother, that childbirth is one of the greatest pains you can experience. And I don’t have to tell you, if you have children, that the arrival of your expected child is one of the greatest joys you will ever experience.

I learned recently that the link between pain and joy extends beyond childbirth. And that’s part of the reason why I have been so tardy in posting a new blog – I was in the midst of pain. Not physical pain, but emotional pain. And this was real pain, I mean REAL PAIN!

Without going into too much detail, my office was under siege – by regulators. Our office undergoes regular inspections to document that part of our practice, the lab, is up to snuff. We had come through all of our previous inspections without problems. Then suddenly, with a new inspector, we were told that we had not been doing something that we should have been doing for years. The previous inspector had just overlooked it. And ignorance of the regulation was not an acceptable excuse. It was “our responsibility” to keep up on all the myriad of government regulatory changes. And further, we were in BIG trouble.

The inspectors threatened to shut down our practice. And they gave us about one week to accomplish a month’s worth of paperwork and changes. I believe they really wanted to put us out of business.

Well, we scurried and hurried, found help, and worked night and day. And by the grace if God, we made the deadline. We got the changes and paperwork in under the deadline, and the threats were lifted. We still have some additional work to do, but now we can come up for air.

But I can honestly say that the past two weeks have been two of the worst weeks of my life – trying to keep the practice going and taking care of patients, trying to find the help we needed, trying to get page after page of paperwork completed and sent off in the proper format. I worried. Would we make it? Would they really put me under? What would I do? How could some regulation that was not being enforced with the majority of physicians be so important as to be treated as life and death? And I didn’t sleep. My ulcer flared. I was a mess. It was real emotional pain.

I didn’t birth a baby. I didn’t pass a kidney stone. But when we made the deadline, when the threat of professional death was lifted, I felt a joy like none I had recently experienced. And it taught me that we have to pass through the dark valleys before we can truly experience the exhilaration of the mountain tops. To experience true joy, we have to suffer first.

What pain have you experienced that has led to real joy?