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I have been in a limbo mode. The feelings and wishes to create had been stirring inside me but had not been given room to bubble out. Today someone special came to mind and I tried to reach out with comfort and consoling to ease their grief and pain. As I endeavored to respond to a note of sorrow, the words that formed were like colors of fresh bright paint on a very white canvas. During my epilogue with this person to whom I was penning my words, I realized that I was also giving birth to a consolation and encouragement to my own soul. I became positively vexed (is that possible to be vexed in a positive way?) because I was speaking to her, but my heart was listening with attentiveness and responding to the words that echoed off the page to resound in my own ears.

I realized that life is much like that. We read a book about others but we identify with and respond to one or more characters in the book. Anger is turned toward others but they were only the match that was lit. What ignited was the reservoir of combustible substance in ourselves. People lash out in bitterness only because their heart was touched with a truthful word that they could not endure and they strive to stop it. We are moved within when listening to a story that others tell, or tears well up upon hearing words of another’s sorrow. Compassion thrives only when some kind of pain is evident. You cannot have one without first experiencing the other. It dawned on me that this is why Jesus came. The reason God became a man is all wrapped up in a statement from the writer of Hebrews: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16  (NIV)

I decided that since I was gleaning from my own words of what was meant to be encouragement that you might also. So here is my open letter to all of you special hearts that may identify as I did. If not, no harm done. Read, enjoy and forget, or absorb, soak and discover:

You are a very special and unique heart. You have a mission. You will live a dream. You will change lives. But it will not come in the way that you have envisioned. It will be evident from the life you live, but you will see it differently. To you, it is what life has handed you. To others it is the way you live it, the way you walk above it, the way you carry it that will influence and be a catalyst of change for them. Your experiences alone will color a dull life and give it vibrancy and heart. You will wonder what others see, when you are just being yourself.  But the pain coming through your words is bitter-sweet. It wrenches your own gut with its existence, yet the crushing thrust causes the oil of balm to ooze to the surface for others to share. Of course there is no way to fully understand and to feel the pain in the same way that you do, for I and others will never know the emptiness of a womb that will never bear. I do of course bear pain that no one can share but me, even as much as I try to explain or describe it to others. This in itself seems to bear some sort of pain for me. However, I determine to let the pain carve new avenues instead of shut up images and thoughts inside like a deeply dug grave, or a thick, sound proof/feel proof- steel door that seals a dungeon room full of such things locked away. For this would mean emotional death or at the very least cold and bitter sentiments only and not the warm surging that only comes with love, laughter, and vibrant life.

The tears and unsaid prayers tend to wash away and push out any barriers that I try to build to hold back painful thoughts from emerging. Like a dam that has held onto every ounce of strength until it can no longer hold the swells and waves, it finally breaks away only to reveal healing and soothing balm in place of the once burning salty wounds. I wonder why I tried to build a barrier to its release after all. I endeavor to learn a continual release of sorts…. a sieve that will leak out the ache in increments so as not to build to a full crescendo that demands release in a damaging burst. But alas, is this not to be? Does it have to lie in waiting incognito until the “right” trigger is pulled to set it off? The last proverbial straw? Is there really no way to pull the thoughts forth gently instead of a gushing that breaks down everything else in its path?

These questions lay yet unanswered. Although time does soften the blows. The scars themselves lend strength to an otherwise tender, bruised skin that bleeds at the slightest push. Yet, words alone can reopen the wells thought to have been dried up long ago. I ask myself, do I fully want to forget? Do I want to arrive at that place of emotional dystrophy? Do I really desire to experience life-long comatose of the heart, or paralysis of the passions? No, a thousand times no. Better be it swell and ebb, fill and deploy, swell and shrink, huge highs and deep lows as opposed to flat-lining through life without a care except to hold words on the inside for intense fear of letting go.

I am learning, ever slowly, but still learning, that although pain is the very thing that we don’t ever want to feel, (we do everything to avoid it, we cut corners to keep from meeting it, we shut our eyes tightly to it, denying it’s existence until it is bigger than life before we admit to it) it is the most perplexing of oxymorons: Our dire enemy that can be our greatest friend. For you see, it is the instigator of dreams. It is the inventor of a different way of being. It is the teacher of passion and tutor of fervor. It is the loud voice in the silence. It is the spark that ignites the flame. It identifies us, molds us, and shapes us if we let it be our guide and not be its prisoner.

To you, my friend: my partner of sorrow. There will always be a void that cannot be filled since the object of love and longing that would occupy the space has been swept away… but looking through the window of regret blinds you to the door of hope that stands wide open. Change the world. Live your dream. Overcome emptiness with fullness of joy. Laugh in spite and in the face of adversity.  Hold hands with pain and sorrow, and you will be led forth to fields of peace and happiness like no other!  Let the throbbing days of memory linger only long enough to propel the soul to soar. And then pain completes its mission for which it was sent.