The Art of Naming Your Pain

I disagree with those that think that truth lies in the light. The truth evaded me in the light. The root of my pain could sustain steathily in the the light. Because the gateway to truth is often found and crossed in the darkest corners of our lives. I was always crowded with people, tasks, distractions that are in direct opposition to the truth. But there was always something bigger than the distractions. Unexpected successes, pleasant surprises, even both kids gone for the weekend did not eliminate a sense of heaviness. It was like my life had a dimmer on it. Because the light allows the luxury of my senses: the relief of stiff drink and smooth smokes. I can hide in errands and cling to movement. For a time I slept on the couch despite a perfectly good bed because I was scared to sleep; frightened of what waited for me beneath my eyelids. The ghost of the past and present can be all-consuming. Sitting with myself was more than I could bear. But luckily, I was faced with possiblilty that shook me out of resistance. Nothing theatrical or elaborate because I haven’t experienced God’s most impactful lessons that way. Quite simply, I had to entertain the possibility of nothing changing. What if I stayed this way? Was I willing to watch the world expand and evolve while I stayed, shrunken and terrified in a dusty corners of my mind?

When you walk into darkness, other sensibilities must take over. It’s disorienting and scary at first. Because of that we often scramble to turn the lights on. The weight of the fear does not seem worth the risk. You forget what could be gained by enduring the risk. If you choose to stay in the dark just one more moment, then one more moment after that, then just one more, you’ll notice your hearing becoming sharper as you try to predict what is around you. Your sense of touch gets keen as you stumble into things you know are there but aren’t sure exactly what you are. When you hit an object, you must use your hands to gain clues. And without fail, a shape or slope, or maybe a texture will trigger a landmark you once passed, the scene of the crime, the source of the pain. Your flight reflex will kick in again, but if you stand your ground there in the dark, you allow yourself an opportunity to relive and examine those hurftful moments, the destructive decisions, but with an eye for the future. You can give language to the feelings that stand between you and healing. Find it, feel it and name it. Shame. Hurt. Loneliness. Abandonment. Fear. Longing. It’s not an exercise in torment, it’s a pathway to healing. You must sit still in your darkness. Cry if need be. Scream if you must. Do whatever is on the other side of release.

Ask or offer forgiveness.

Visit the place to which you vowed to never return.

Be willing to eat your words.

Ask for what you need. Without apology. Even if you don’t get it, you have done your part.

A lightness of being is cool. However, happiness is not always an unearned privilege. Do the work required to achieve your light. It’s much less lonlier in the dark than you think. Hell, I’m still here time to time.


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