With five children in the home, it is impossible to keep the window panes free from fingerprints, dirt, and smudges. Kids seem to be obsessively attracted to window panes, their fingers operating as anti-squeegees. Sometimes, as I sit on my couch and look out of the living-room window, I find it difficult to see the front yard clearly though the stained glass of grease and grime. Although a bit annoying, I cannot help but laugh. After all, it's nothing a bit of Windex won't fix!
Come to think about it, pain in our lives is a lot like a smudged window. The reality of things around us doesn't change with the absence or presence of pain; nevertheless, pain can obscure what we see. Things on "the other side of pain" can appear out of focus or distorted, even though they are exactly as they were before the hurt and tribulation started. We know this, but it doesn't change the fact that pain is present or that it alters our perceptions of reality.
So, what do we do with it? Quite simply, we have to recognize that pain acts in our lives like a smudge; it alters reality, but it's not permanent. In fact, it only takes a little cleaner to start mitigating the negative effects of pain. The cleaners in our lives are many and principally include our faith, friends, and family. God has given us "solvents" (i.e., people and truth) to wipe away the distorting effects of pain--to help us see the realities around us for what they are. Of course, unlike actual smudges on a window, we cannot completely wipe away pain from our lives, but we can make the window cleaner and learn to appreciate with greater clarity the realities outside.