Humans are interesting creatures, not unlike animals in their desire to shun pain, to do what they can to avoid the sting of a wound, be it physical or emotional. About the time I stopped posting to my blog I had stepped into the axis of my pain, and I have to admit, it surprised me.
Just weeks earlier I had been talking with my friend Mary, explaining that I had already mourned the end of my marriage three years ago. All that was left to grieve was the impact it was having on my children (can we say denial?). I was efficiently moving through my divorce, checking through these emotional steps like items on a To-Do list. That’s when the unbearable pain hit me, stealing my breath. Suddenly my heart resembled a split melon, wide and messy with emotion. I thought I was going to die, thought I wanted to die, and gravitated towards my ex, the only one who truly understood how much our divorce hurt.
Not until this moment have I recognized two types of pain. One steals upon you slowly and before you realize it this pain has taken over your life and become common—what you’re used to. We recognize it in the story of a frog, seduced to his death by lounging in a pot of water slowly set to boil. We become comfortable with this type of pain—we recognize it and have learned to cope with it. It’s manageable.
The other pain is a storm, a Katrina of hurt that disorients you, blurs your vision and masks the horizon. I was in the eye of this storm just one month ago. And I’m convinced that often we’re required to step through this brand of pain in order to reach a much better place, a promised land, a city of hope, a bright future. Cheesy, I know, but true. But how eager I was to slip from this pain into another that was more comfortable, albeit equally debilitating.
For the first time in my life I empathized with people who turn to drugs and alcohol to escape pain. It’s just that base instinct we all have to free ourselves from a long moment of crushing heartache. Whether we, when possible, avoid the storm altogether or turn to something that will numb our awareness of it, we’re depriving ourselves of a blissful destination at the end of an arduous journey. That is what I have to believe. For me, my ex, and my children, I know this painful moment in the string of eternity is really just the gust of wind we need to reach a better place.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself today…