On The Comfort of Pain

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr

I have a friend who writes a weekly blog. She says it is based on her intuition, her message from what one could call the universe, to her loved ones. She loves everyone, unconditionally, and her weekly message is perhaps for one person or meant for many. That’s the way with these things. Wisdom doesn’t discriminate or chose. It just is for those to hear, interpret, and assimilate the message into their daily lives, as they wish.

This week her message is about grief, about pain, about transformation. She has been a good friend, and over the years been a sounding board for me when I was faced with things foreign to me. She has pointed out many truths, mostly the ones you know to be true in your heart and soul but don’t want to bring to light because once voiced, once brought out from the darkness…well, that makes things real, right? And once acknowledged, the choices left are to take them out into the light, deal with and resolve them, or try to stuff them back into the abyss where they may fester and continue to spread poison to our everyday lives no matter how hard we try to pretend they don’t exist. Sometimes, we may believe it is possible to coexist with these things that we all try to hide, but is that coexistence a symbiotic relationship that causes us to be stunted by keeping alive something that should be put to rest? Like a constant gnawing, the discomfort becomes comfort, regardless of the pain. As it becomes the normal, it can be difficult to even imagine life any other way, never mind let go, with the things that live in the dark.

For me, letting go has been difficult because sometimes it’s the only thing left of that which was once valuable and special. If I let go, it is lost forever. How can I forget its meaning? But if I continue to hold on, don’t I prevent space for something new to take its place? Or is it possible to grow enough to make space for everything, old and new? Through forgiveness, understanding, perspective? Other times, the pain is such a strong emotion it can be a great motivator—so if I let go, how do I continue to move on and channel it into positive change? What will take its place? Will I lose momentum and fail? Often, I go round and round with no clear resolution.

In these cases, I reach the inevitable place where I say STOP. I am an impatient person, and after awhile, even I get sick of my indecisiveness. So this weekend, I’m going to look deep inside and pull out one thing that I haven’t resolved. And I’m hoping I chose the thing that causes a domino effect with all those other things that are down there too. For if there is one thing I know about myself, I am a creature of habit. I tend to categorize things neatly and put them in boxes. Into now, not now, never, and soon. The things that are still too raw to feel, the things that are so old they must be dead or at least dormant, and so on. This weekend, I think I’m going to open Pandora’s box. The never box. It seems fitting for the times.