Yes, it’s summer in Seattle. Finally! Blue skies and just the right heat makes today absolutely perfect. We’ve had our first strawberry from our garden and some salad greens. Yum. I’m ready to milk this weather for all its worth in the next two months. Except today’s edition is going to be about…pain. Yah, I know. But seriously? You can’t have joy without pain, so let’s bring it.
First, A Story
Today, Yesterday, I almost nearly had a panic attack. And I hadn’t had one in a really long time.
My husband rode his bike to work yesterday morning (perhaps inspired by his bike-riding boss, Mike McGinn) and had a little accident. Nothing big, but he came back home with some bruises and a minor shock to his system. He showed up later than usual (which wasn’t unusual although I had this sixth sense that something was up) with bits of blood all over and it turns out he had his first wipeout as a commuter biker on a really busy street. And an SUV-driver passing by played good samaritan and gave him and his bike a ride home (which is a good reminder never to judge anyone, even those who drive gigantic gas-nozzling vehicles.)
He’s not badly hurt but we went to the Emergency Room last night just to make sure nothing’s broken and to get a tetanus shot. As we were waiting for my husband to get all cleaned up and checked out, my mind started to think of how it could easily have been much much worse. And how it could have made one of my greatest fears come true – to lose a loved one unexpectedly. I’m so afraid of the losing part, that I won’t have any time to say good-bye. But mostly I fear my heart may never recover from the loss.
How People Die From A Broken Heart
That my heart may never heal, and being that I’ve been on this recovery road towards wholeness of sorts, that would really suck. That it would set me back ten times from this healing process I’ve been on these past few years. That maybe it would be the last straw to really put my heart out of commission and ruin its capacity to trust ever again.
And it’s not that I’ve suffered gigantic losses that make headlines, you see. I’ve only had the small everyday stuff that most everyone goes through. But it’s my loss and it’s my heart and when you don’t really process that as it comes, it’s sort of a negative hit in your emotional bank account and over time you end up with one big debt that gets harder to pay by the minute. Death by a broken heart.
Meeting Pain: Hello!
It’s only recently that I’ve learned to really process painful stuff in my life as they come, and to process it with kindness and gentleness and a lot of love. In the past, I tended to ask questions like “Where is God when it hurts?” kind of stuff. (I have all the books on the topic, by the way. They are free for the taking. Just send me an email.) I was never in denial of my pain but I wallowed in it. It’s only later in my adult live that I’ve learned to work through my pain, except I still tended to punish myself for it or try hard, so very hard, to make it count. To make it matter. To turn it around.
But something I’ve learned from my little girl, who is often a source of Pure Wisdom without her even knowing it, has made all the difference in the world: that all is well, and all manner of things shall be well. Not that she’s had a painful existence in this life, but when she encounters pain in her everyday, it doesn’t matter how small or big it is. Pain is just that, pain. She responds in however way she needs to express her grief or shock or fear and looks for a Source of Comfort in the most unashamed way. And then once that whole process is done, she is over with the pain and moves on. Always in the moment. Always present to the here and now.
Yes, we are to guard our heart. Life and healing from it flows. But our heart is much stronger, resilient and trustworthy than we believe it to be. And it can take on any Pain we meet in this life, provided that we interact with our Pain wholeheartedly and trust that there is Joy through that. And that in the end, there is only Love.
Back To You
So how are you with meeting pain wholeheartedly? Do you tend to deny the pain that comes your way or do you graciously make space for it? Do you hold on to your pain and wallow in it, as if sort of a badge that you’ve suffered in this life greatly? Or do you believe that your heart is strong and resilient and trustworthy to meet Pain with kindness?
Please share in the comments below, if you feel safe enough to so do. Which is my hope. But whatever feels right. Feel free to post this on your Facebook wall or tweet it to your friends. Spread the Love. And the Light.