Best Self Magazine

Give Me Your Pain: One Man’s Quest to Bear the Pain of Others’ and Heal His Own

Give Me Your Pain: One Man's Quest to Bear the Pain of Others' and Heal His Own, by Gordon Davis. Photograph of painted heart on cinder block wall by Bryan Garces
Photograph by Bryan Garces

Once locked away in a prison cell for 25 years — one extraordinary man discovers how to heal his own pain through the service of others

Usually, people think that I’m a strong, happy person…but behind my smiles they just don’t know how much I’m in pain and almost broken…”


Pain. How can a person understand life when life was crushed before living it? And what about the crude impact on the development of such a person? To answer this, I have to go back to ask my 7-year-old self this very question. He remembers.

I’m a curious life observer. I have learned to witness and read others. I have tried many times to study and understand the mind of others — in an effort to understand my own. I have tried many times to visualize this feeling of happiness or elation that others may feel; yet in the end, I still come up with the same conclusion: The grass is not greener on the other side.

And this coming from a man who has spent 25 years in prison, means something.

I wonder if there is such a thing as everlasting. That it can go, fade, become something else. Yet, I can attest firsthand that there is such a thing, that there is such a space where pain is felt. It resides, thrives and creates indelible scars.

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