Shaping Our Pain
I remember reading Freud, ages ago. And he seemed to be saying that humans live by the principle of pain avoidance. To some extent, he was right.
Yet it is ultimately unrealistic to live our lives according to this principle. Pain, unavoidable pain, is sometimes our surprising companion. We cannot escape it.
This past week, I began a journey through such inescapable pain. As did so many of my friends, my church community, who knew and loved the dear brother-father-husband-scientist-elder who passed away.
Around the middle of the week, one of these grieving friends shared a song with me. And I had, without knowing it, shared my poem with her. At the end of the week, another friend told me how she had taken the funeral flowers (with the widow's blessing) and saved the ones that were still fresh, to rearrange them in new designs. She wept and wept as she rearranged them. And so her tears and flowers bedecked our refreshment tables on Sunday. Each of us had begun to touch and mold our pain, through our own particular gifts and loves.
In The Burning Word, Judith Kunst notes that the Jews have long relied on words to shape and reshape their pain. Discussing the book of Lamentations she says, "This painful kneading of words and grief binds the poet to his despair, and at the same time it pushes him through it, toward hope..." (p.55)
I realize that I shape and reshape my pain through writing. In this way, I do not avoid my pain but am bound to it while also experiencing a sense of pushing through it. As I told my friend who shared the song, "I write and the mending begins."
(On a totally different note... today marks one year since Seedlings was born.)
Lilies photo, by L.L. Barkat.
Seedlings Invitation: If you write a post related to this post and Link It Back Here, let me know and I'll link to yours.