Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Our Glory Is Hidden In Our Pain"

"..the gift of life has revealed itself in the midst of all the losses." Henri Nouwen
I’m going to do something a little different with the slim volume I’m reading called Turn My Mourning Into Dancing by Henri Nouwen.  I’m going to write about each section of the book because to do otherwise would be unmanageable.  The book reveals too many truths and inspires too many thoughts to do less.  

The first section of the book addresses how we deal with our own suffering.  There are so many different kinds of brokenness and loss in our lives.  We all struggle with letting the same situations and the same people break our hearts over and over again.  The worst pain doesn’t come at the time of wounding; it comes at the time of scarring.  We have all been scarred; we are all wounded.

Nouwen teaches that the way out of suffering is “in and through,” that we must accept suffering and move through it instead of fleeing from it.  He says that only those who can fully face, confront, and accept their pain can heal and grow.  Attempting to avoid and forget pain only temporarily masks it.  Embracing your whole life, including your pain, and finding peace in spite of it keeps you whole.  It sounds facile and cliched to say that it’s not about what happens to you but how you handle it, but it really is true.   And this is a truth we have to learn and re-learn every day.  It is perhaps the most difficult, yet most important of all truths of who we are, who we become, and how we affect the world around us.

Often, we need only to step outside of ourselves and our lives to forget in order to remember:   to forget the overwhelming mess we live in and to remember the overwhelming beauty that we live among.  Sometimes, just doing one little thing:  a walk, a ride, a movie, dinner with a friend will re-center our entire lives for that one moment in time.  And sometimes, that’s the best we can hope for -- one calm moment.  Because all life is really about is choosing to keep breathing in gratitude and breathing out compassion.  When we are wrapped up in our own pain, we skip right over the pain of others.  When circumstances around us seem to be spiralling out of control, we feel helpless and insignificant, and we rant and rave just to be heard, to exert some kind of control and influence.  But the voice that heals is the quiet voice of peace.


Barbara Bartels said...

Wonderful post. Sounds like a good book. When I was in a period of perpetual pain and constant chaos, I found great solace in getting out of my head and into my body. I craved physical movement -- swimming, yoga, walking. It was literally what kept me going and I was in noticeably super shape. Now that I am more content, I am also quite a bit lazier, a little flabbier. Wishing I was as physically active as I once was. Oh well. So it goes.

thecuecard said...

Some wise words Sadie. Thanks. It seems when we do stuff for others or with others we move thru our own pain and go outside ourselves. That's all I can think.
Hope you are well.

Amy said...

Barbara, I know exactly what you mean. I have found that to be true throughout my life. Reminds me of a line I just read in Flight Behavior: "...everything here would go down better if you could dance. Some of life's greatest calls were answered not by the head but by the body."

Amy said...

And thanks Cue (sorry I don't know your name). I am well today and working toward well in a more permanent way. I enjoy reading your blog, even if I don't comment often.

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