Something has really been troubling me lately. It all has to do with pain.
Pain in sacrifice. Pain in giving up. Pain in losing something, someone, a friend. Pain in moving away. Pain in taking a risk. Pain in making decisions. The pain of putting your heart on the line and knowing people. The pain it takes to move forward.
The type of pain that festers deep within the heart and works from the deep, inside out. Maybe pain kills slowly.
Maybe pain makes us stronger… Maybe not.
I look around and a see a lot of pain. And I see a lot more people trying to hide the pain inside.
I know and see this pain because I’m no better.
One of my roommates and I talked tonight about pain. I wondered if I’m good at hiding it. Most of the time I feel like I’m not. My roommate knows me pretty well, so most of the time she knows I am carrying around a deep pain that was a long time coming even before it started to fester and scar my heart. However, she told me that if she didn’t know the real me, she would think that I am fine because I hide it so well.
It’s never been a surprise to me that I am One: A worrier. And Two: A wall builder. Especially when it means that I can somehow try and escape the pain for a while. I worry that I am a burden by sharing my pains with others. That they will be too repetetive. This only leads to wall-building that can sometimes be unhealthy. This led me to wonder how many walls are put up on a daily basis when I am meeting a stranger on the T, when I look into the eyes of peers around me. What pains might they be carrying around with them that they feel they need to hide as much as I feel I need to hide my own pain?
How many of us are trying to replace our pain with a new thing? How many believe that replacing something or someone with a new thing or person can make it all better?
For a while I believed that replacing people could make the pain of losing those that were or are important to me go away.
Newsflash: It doesn’t. It might make the pain go numb for a while and it might make the people around us believe that we are forging a new path and feeling better. But, on the inside we just feel helpless, like nothing will get better. Like the pain will never go away because eventually we realize that it might be something we have to perpetually live with until we find our distance along the path.
Maybe distance isn’t what everyone needs.
One day, within all the messiness, mud, and pain… We will realize how wrong it is to try and evade pain and make it go away. The real matter is that pain creates cracks. Pain might create beautiful walls, but the beauty about those walls is that there are always cracks in the gravel it takes to build walls. God takes cracks and plants seeds in the space, which can then be watered. But seeds can’t be watered without dirt and hurt (relapse) every now and then.
Eventually, pain will become something we learn to live with. If we’re lucky, the wall might be broken down, so beautiful and better things can grow bigger and stronger. When things grow bigger and stronger, walls are torn down and we begin to see how God was present within all the messiness of the past hurt.
It doesn’t make the pain we feel any less, but it makes perspective a little more clear.
Can pain etched deep inside the heart ever truly be evaded? Will replacement and ignorance of the things that cause us pain ever give us true freedom?
I think not.
I think freedom comes when pain fills cracks in the walls and grows.