Pain is a curious thing.  It creates different reactions in different people, at different times, under different circumstances.  Everyone goes through a lot of pain in their lives, and reacts to it in approximately seven squillion and three completely disparate ways, depending on… everything.

It has been a hell of a year.  It is about to be another hell of a year, but in completely different ways.  I am thinking about all of the pain that I have been through in the past year, and contemplating on the changes it has made in my body, my mind, my soul, my person.


I am more vicious.  I am more compassionate.  I am less likely to empathize.  I am more likely to understand.  I am stronger.  I am more willing to compromise.  I want to help more.  I’m better at drawing on boundaries on what is help, and what is enabling.


I love more people, more willingly, and am more open.  I am more afraid, and more defensive, and more likely to have violent reactions when people I love hurt me or make me afraid.


I’m less likely to hold grudges.  I don’t have the time or energy for the kind of hate I have nurtured in the past.  I don’t need the burning passion of despite against people; I have more than enough despite for causes and bigger problems and passions to keep me warm at any season, any time of day or night.  There are bigger things than people to be angry at; single persons are too small to deserve my destructive energies for long.


I am more resilient emotionally and mentally, and much more fragile physically.  I will be in the hospital a lot this year, and that doesn’t scare me as much as it should.  I am glad that I have friends and family and loves I can depend on to take care of me – and I am not afraid to depend on them, because having to ask for help is not weakness.


I have redefined weakness and strength, over and over and over.  I am still doing it, every hour and every day.


Pain had a hand in doing all this.   I am bitter and resentful and angry about my pain, and I understand very deeply why people are angry about the pain they suffer.  I cannot help but be grateful as well, because I cannot help but see how it has made me more into the person I want to be, and moved me further away from the person I was afraid I would be trapped into being for the rest of this life.


I hate my pain.  I love my pain.  I wish it had never happened, and wasn’t still happening.  I am grateful that it happened, and occasionally cut myself up with it internally, to teach myself the lessons it has to offer more clearly, more permanently.  Pain is a tool, a teacher, a punishment, a penance, a purgatory, a visceral experience.


What pain will this year bring?  What will I learn?  What will I fail to learn, that I will curse myself for after the fact?  What will I learn poorly or incorrectly, that will lead me down a path I will regret?  I don’t know.  I will learn some things well, some things badly, and it will be a hell of a year.  One way or another, it will be a hell of a year.


(I have talked to three or four people about pain today – to any of you that read this, thank you, and I hope that your own pain can be an ally.  If not today, then someday.)