Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The sun will come out tomorrow~
Pain, sorrow, disappointment, worry: these can be squashed into a tiny dense lump and hidden beneath the heart, covered with light, airy emotions: anticipation, excitement, hope, pleasure. You can smile, laugh even, with a core of pain secreted away.
Sometimes things around you contrive to awaken the buried feelings . . . an article someone writes, a book you read, a conversation, a phone call, and when they all happen at the same time, there is no choice but to reexamine the pain you've hidden. Time to get it out into the light and look at it long and hard. To feel it, experience it again. To rise above it.
When my kids were little and fell and skinned a knee, I'd hold them tight on my lap and rock them and say, "It's only pain. It hurts I know, but this is as bad as it gets." I'd blow on the cut and say, "See it hurts a little less, now. You can stand it. You'll be fine."
And they were.
They didn't need me to blow on their cuts after a while. They knew they were stronger than the hurt.
"I'm fine, Mom," they'd say.
And they were.
I did the same for their emotional pain as they grew older. Hurt feelings are worse than skinned knees. "It hurts, but you'll live. This part is the worst. It gets better. It doesn't last forever. You'll see."
And they did.
I believe in facing down hurt. Looking it squarely in the face and letting it wash over me. Feeling it. It isn't bigger than I am. I am stronger.
It has been said that when tears flow they take with them some of the chemicals that arise in sorrow. Experiments have been done. Tiny vials held beneath lachrymal glands collect the drops. Scientists in a laboratory examine emotions under a microscope. I don't know what they've discovered. I don't know if crying helps.
I think shedding tears is like a rainstorm that washes the dust and pollutants from the air so that when the sun comes out again-- and it will-- things look brighter.
I tell myself this as I hang up the phone. My oldest. I said no. Again. Tough love is an exquisite pain. But I can handle it. I've seen how bad it can get, and I'm stronger.
And for each of you with your own private pain, I can't blow on it and make it better, but I can be with you as you rise above it. That's all we can do for each other.
The great art of life is sensation, to feel that we exist, even in pain.