Lost for words (sitting in the pain)

9 Feb

It’s s been a bit quiet of late. I’ve been a bit quiet, a bit lost for words. Trying to make sense of how I feel, confused by the complexity of my thoughts and struggling to navigate my way through the maze of ‘me’. Usually I find that writing helps me to make sense, to find sense in confusion and ambiguity, but this time I have found myself lost for words. Unable to find the words that will articulate and bring peace.

As I’ve been reflecting on the last few weeks, one thing I have realised is that much has been taken away. And there remains a chasm yet to be filled. The last few months have brought much change for my husband and I. Some of the transitions have been brilliant, others less so. Much of it has felt painful, yet sprinkled with hope and adventure. The reality is though that, mid-change, I feel lost somehow. Not sure where I ‘fit’ anymore, not sure where I belong. Uncertainty about the future exacerbates the feelings of temporality and insecurity.

During this time, I have been learning some important lessons. I have been learning to accept pain and to resist the temptation to escape it as quickly as possible. Our quick-fix culture – of ‘instant’ painkillers, instant credit, instant online purchases and interaction – encourages us away from pain and into a comfortable (yet possibly bland?) way of life. We learn to run quickly into these narcotics – into the warm arms of shopping/alcohol/cigarettes/exercise/starvation/co-dependent relationships/isolation/online escapism. I have started to recognise my escape routes. And their futility. The thing is – we become so used to numbing our pain in these ways that we no longer recognise our behaviour as anything other than ‘normal’. Everyone else does it – why wouldn’t I?

This morning, I read these wise words from Richard Rohr: “We must be taught how to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. In terms of soul work, we dare not get rid of pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.”

I feel challenged by this thought – that staying in pain may be the right choice, not wallowing but resting. Staying still rather than running away. Waiting rather than escaping. Dare I wait? In the pain? Is this how we find the healing we long for?

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