The hidden beauty of pain

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)

I have heard a lot of painful stories in the past week and as much as I want people I love to not be hurting…there is nothing I can do to take it away. So I just sit with them in spirit.

I have no evidence or academic understanding for what I’m about to say, it is purely observational, so please take it for what it’s worth. But after walking through this past year I am convinced that the depth we allow our hearts to plunge into the pain and sorrow of life we have the same depth and capacity to experience joy. Meaning if you really face the full force of the emotions as they are swirling around you…no escaping…no numbing…maybe curling up in the fetal position and praying for the day that life does not hurt this much…but standing face into the wind waiting for the storm to subside. Eventually it will and when the storm does calm and the sun does rise you will have the capacity to experience joy to the same depth you felt the pain. Your emotional bandwidth increases (Just in case you forgot I’m an engineer. 🙂 )

But this is the place where people can make a mis step. Facing and experiencing the pain is scary and it hurts…both physical and emotional. Most people don’t like it and would rather avoid it…this is the birthplace of addictions and unhealthy ways of coping. Because if you choose to numb the pain I am convinced you also numb the joy…and then ultimately just become numb. Your emotional bandwidth decreases.

I have a bit of a visual picture for this. Imagine standing alone in a field. Just you amongst the grass. There are no trees for protection. It is flat. A storm kicks up. It’s wicked. Crazy winds. Rain blowing sideways. And you fight with all your might to keep from being blown away. You aren’t sure how long it will last or whether you can keep up the fight…but somehow you manage. You dig deep and eventually…eventually the wind calms and the rain stops. You aren’t fighting as hard to keep upright and slowly the sun begins to rise. It’s the most beautiful sight not only because of the rays between the clouds and the rainbow of colors but because you know how bad it could be. Man, are you excited to be in the sun!! You close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it warm your face…soaking it in.

Now imagine you are back at the beginning of this little story…alone in the field. But this time when the storm kicks up you build a shelter to protect you from the wind and the rain. It makes it a lot easier to live through the storm without being blasted and soaked…you don’t have to fight as hard to survive. But when you’re in the shelter you can’t tell when the storm calms and the sun is rising. You wont see the beauty after the storm…you are just stuck with the 4 blank walls inside. Sure, you weathered the storm alright but you just traded that for the sunrise and warming rays on your face.

I, for one, would rather face my storms to then feel the sun on my face.

These are just my Wednesday evening musings. Take them for what they are worth. 🙂