I just read an account of one horrific year an FB friend is in the midst of recovering from and I thought, Fuck, there is a aircraft carrier of pain in the world. It’s not like that thought is breaking news, or anything. I have known about pain and experienced a lot of it for most of my life.
How we get through it, mystifies me as much as it impresses me. What we do, how we act, what we hold, what we carry, where we find enough strength to cross the street and move on, is what really interests me.
There have been times when I felt too much loss, too much pain. And I have thought, here I am in the quicksand of it, the belly of despair and it’s swallowing me and maybe I’ll just let it, because what’s the fucking point–I’m just too tired.
But then a little voice, in the form of muffins at your door from an acquaintance who knows of your sadness, or a perfectly timed phone call from a friend, or a song, or a favorite food you can swallow amidst your grief and actually taste, speaks to you and says, “This is just momentary, honey. There is more of the good stuff coming for you.”
It doesn’t speak loudly at first. It’s like the shy kid who was always in the back of the classroom acing the math tests. It’s like a tiny, fragile lily of the valley. It’s like a tea light candle trying to light up the whole of the black night, the sun trying to power through an opaque bank of clouds.
As long as even a tiny splinter-you-get-from-a-piece-of wood-in-your-finger sized bit of possibility is viewable from your peripheral vision even, you will make it.
This is what we do. We live as pain’s targets. We’re always trying to dodge and weave. As the song says, “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.”
It takes time to wrestle pain and grief into submission. I have found pain never really goes away, but I’ve learned to carry it. I used to carry it on my back, but then I realized that hurt too much. So now, I carry it in my heart. When we carry our pain in our hearts, we become compassion. Compassion creates connection. And connection saves us.