All the things we feel

It’s a miracle to me how deep piercing raw pain can become something bearable. An echo.

That we can heal from that devastation, move forward. I wouldn’t say move on because I don’t think we leave it behind, exactly. But we move forward.

And over time, the pain can lessen and cease to be the absolute center of life. Life can be, once again, something more than the experience of pain.

The experience of pain changes us, though.

Terror, tragedy, grief. The many facets of it.

We’re not the same after trauma, after loss and sorrow and guilt and regret, the sleepless haunting unanswerable questions, the agony stabbing thru every soft place, the grinding, the shades of darkness, the sobbing into a pillow, the foreignness of joy, the futility of rest, the horror of lapsing into forgetfulness for an instant and then the jolting return of consciousness that strips of you of all safety…

The unending maze of it.

The wrenching pervasiveness.

Bone-deep, soul-deep, seeping into every pore of your skin, invading every cell of your body. The voiceless humming throb of it. The wanting to drift into sleep and not wake up of it.

But then there’s the miracle of you continuing to breathe, and the part of you wondering: Is this a miracle or is this a curse? Is this things getting better and do I really want that? Who am I now with this grief? Who am I on the other side of this experience? Can there be an ‘other side’ of it? How could it ever, ever be okay?

Stepping in and out of the maze.

And the terror that there is no healing, only delusion. That a moment of calm, of hope or peace or joy, is always temporary and you’ll forever be plunging back into that pit, as deep as you ever were, that there will be no out, no exit, no lessening.

Time assures us this will not be so.

Our own experience tells us: you will go on, and the darkness will lighten, and the pain will lessen. Once again days will come when the laughter outweighs the tears.

Some days you can even believe it.