Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Little Fall of Rain

Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel you are beyond the pain.
~St. Bartholomew

Pain is necessary. There is a reason for pain, be it physical, emotional or spiritual pain. Pain is the mother of all, saying, "Hey... slow down a minute and reassess. What's going on here?" There are ways of dealing with pain, of moving through it and around it, but pain requires our attention in a way that no other feeling does. Left ignored, it will cripple us... whether through real injury or self-medication.

Pain itself should not be scary, but the absence of pain should be. Case in point: had John had feeling below his waist, his cancer would have been agonizing at an early stage and likely would have been treatable. There is a similar slow death in people who don't or won't allow themselves to acknowledge emotional pain.

I'm not saying pain is a happy place (though for some twisted people it is, but this isn't that blog!). But bowing to our own frailty helps us grow. When John died I was offered medication to "ease the hurt." I didn't want it. I wanted to know how much I could take. I needed to feel what was there to be felt. I'm thankful that I made that decision, because now I know what I can take, I know what I'm made of. Without allowing myself to feel that agony, if I had given myself over to numbness, I wouldn't have an understanding of my own inner strength. I also know that by comparison, anything else that happens isn't going to hurt nearly as much.

Besides, even on the most painful days, I'm still above ground... and, repeat after me, "Any day above ground is a good day."

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