I have felt so benevolently full of grace lately. Full of grace for myself, my family, and the world. I have held this grace honestly and openly, feeling benevolent, patient, generous, and kind. I have walked in euphoria for days on end – blissed out on the beauty of the natural world, the people in it, and how blessed my life has been. And then I took a writing class, insert discordant record scratch here.
The class was good, deliciously good. It was deep and raw and had all of us unearthing trauma and processing it so that we could turn that vulnerability, shame, and fear into gold. Write it out and hopefully find the true essence or nugget of universality in our pain. Mold that darkness into something useful and create art.
The exercises were effective but now having scratched open our scabs the course is done. We are left bleeding out in the world. The life we return to, the normal every day world, is what we were hoping to protect these pains from – exposure.
We were ready in the class to feel and dive deep but now that the class is over we need closure, a little second skin to cover what we have opened up inside of ourselves. Those dark and crusty things that we fear and feel more deeply than anything daily life has ever handed us.
This is where we are all dark and dangerous. It is terrifying and as you’d expect painful to be so open to the world. But here’s the trade off, I couldn’t feel the glory of sunshine with the sensation of holiness blessing my very core if I didn’t embrace this vulnerability too. This conflicted feeling of being so wide open and almost unwisely exposed to the elements of relationships and life. Because life is both that shining light of afternoon sun that warms some of our rooms like a sauna and it is the dark and scary loneliness of confronting our deepest and darkest fears. If I don’t look inward and stop staring at my phone to distract myself from these hard and real sensations I won’t feel that sun as brightly. The sun will still shine on my face but I won’t feel it in my soul. It won’t warm my heart to the same depths because my heart will have been walled off, protected from the deep darkness and also the blinding light that just might help my heart to heal. The sheltered pieces of myself might never see that perhaps I need not be so walled off, so sterile, so trapped in solitude. I might learn that perhaps the world is bright and lovely on some days. Other days it’s hard and cold but if I do not open the drapes to let in the sun it is never completely dark and it will never been completely day.
I’m mixing metaphors but you get the idea, to be that grace filled generous soul who sees the hurt in other people and takes the time to reach out and connect I must also be the angry wounded animal that nurses her wounds and occasionally lashes out to protect herself because she hasn’t finished the work she is doing to heal. Oh, being alive is such a dangerous thing. To survive we need only coast on the surface but to live, to really live, we have to feel all the pain, the dark and twisty elements, and then we get to really enjoy the light.
And all of it takes bravery. We get to embrace the beauty only if we embrace the pain and know that it exists to show us where we have work to do, something to heal, tenderly and gently. What a gift to be so alive and feel all of it so brutally and beautifully.