Breaking The “Jar” Of Pain

When my children were younger, my family and I were avid jungle trekkers.

Almost every school holiday, we would be on some obscure trails and bashing through a jungle.

On one trip, we were staying in a small guesthouse in Thailand before setting off on another trekking trip.

This was one of those “self-service” lodges.

In other words, there were hardly any service staff. You had to do everything on your own.

One morning, I went to the kitchen to prepare a sandwich.

I held a glass can of peanut butter on my left hand and with my right, I tried to remove the lid.

I did not realise that the glass was not strong enough to withstand the grip of my left hand.

I crushed the can, cleaving it and producing razor sharp fragments.

Many of the fragments pierced and sliced through my flesh.

I screamed in pain and that got almost everyone running to me.

Meanwhile, blood was flowing unceasingly from my cuts, particularly the cuts on my left thumb.

A large piece of jagged glass had cut through part of my thumb.

All I saw was blood spurting from the wound.

Soon, my hand was covered in blood.

A guesthouse employee helped me into his van and rushed me and my family to the local clinic.

In my pain, it seemed like we took ages to reach our destination.

When I first laid eyes on the run-down village clinic, to say I was not impressed would be an understatement.

Quite literally, I feared for my life.

Many questions ran through my mind.

Did they have a qualified doctor to man the clinic?

Would the doctor have the right medical equipment and medicine?

Could he stop the haemorrhage and sew up the wound?

The most scary question and the one that I tried desperately to keep away from my mind and from my worried family was – Would this be the last day of my life?

Many years later, my oldest daughter told me that in her childish naivete, she thought I would not survive.

In case you are reading my posting for the first time, please be assured, I am alive.

At least the last time I checked, I was still alive.

However, I still bear the scar of that experience on my left thumb.

To finish my story, there was a doctor at the clinic. He had a faded white overalls that must have seen many a medical crisis.

He brought me to a corner, and pulled a curtain to give us some privacy.

The curtain was not terribly useful; outsiders could easily look at me as it was translucent.

Although I wasn’t administered an anaesthetic, I could not remember how the doctor stopped the bleeding and closed the wound.

I had turned my face away, leaving my life in his hands.

For weeks after that, I was still in pain.

The pain however was not as tormenting as the fear that the doctor might have left remnants of glass inside my hand and body.

In my wildest moments, I imagined transforming into The Glass Man.

As a result of the freak accident, I would become an accidental super hero with power to turn my enemies into crystal.

And like a good entrepreneur, I would trade the human-shaped crystal for piles of money to save the world.

When I thought about the frightening experience, I couldn’t help asking myself:

Why did our Creator allow pain in life?

Why did He not prevent the accident from happening?

Why did He not heal me immediately, after all He was more than able to do it?

Why did He allow suffering to continue in my life?

These are deep philosophical questions and despite our search, humanity has not been able to come out with a satisfactory answers.

I don’t pretend I can resolve such imponderables.

However, there are important lessons that I have learned from painful experiences in the past.

I have learned that pain is a messenger.

There is meaning in suffering.

Every scar in your life bears its own purpose.

The scar that remains can serve to remind you that there is significance in pain – if you search deep enough for its purpose for yourself.

Living a good life is not about whether you go through sunshine or storm in life but how you make full use of the passing seasons.

Every situation that we you go through is a classroom in life.

Pain and problems are some of the best teachers.

Sadness and sorrow are part and parcels of their curriculum.

There is a positive purpose for every moment and there is meaning in every event.

We need to go beyond achieving success in every endeavour to live out its spiritual significance.

The circumstances in our lives are powerful catalysts to help correct, coach and channel us to adopt the right conduct in life.

How we extract the lessons and apply them to become a better person depends on our conscientious choice, discipline, and action.

In doing so, pain can be a platform and not a pitfall in life. It can help you build a positive character, values, and other qualities to succeed in life.

Every pain and sorrow can also inspire you to reach out to others who are suffering in life.

You can understand their pain because you’re going through it or have gone through it.

Offer comfort to those who are in need of comfort.

When you see painful experiences in this light, it can make you a stronger and better person.

Therefore, embrace pain but don’t succumb to it.

You are bigger than pain.

Accept it but don’t be resigned to it.

Pain is not a part of you, neither should it be treated apart from you.

Don’t run away from it or pretend it’s not there.

The painful message must be urgent enough to come to you with such a strong signal and impact.

The better you respond to the pain, the faster the pain can be transformed into a gain.

Pain is not a stumbling block but a stepping stone. It can start a process of improvements and a movement for the good of the people around you.

Back to my story, that experience in Thailand is another turning point in my life.

I aim to help the people around me rise up from pits of darkness – one person at a time and one experience at a time.

Strangely, the more I help others remove darkness from their life, the more the darkness in my life will graduallydisappear.

When I am able to totally focus on a worthwhile mission, after awhile I don’t even notice my own darkness anymore.

At the right time, the enlightening light of our Creator will obliterate the remaining darkness.

I will be free.

How can you leverage on pain to fulfill a purposeful mission?


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Please visit my website,

Follow me on:

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

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Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on Visit my Inspiration blog at For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at Please visit my website, Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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