April 6, 2010
Pain is a funny thing. OK, so probably funny isn't the right word, but it is interesting to ponder.
We have all experienced it, both physical and mental or emotional. It can be a dull, persistent pain that just won't leave you alone, or a sharp stab of sensation that takes your breath away. It can be intermittent and hard to pinpoint or so specific that you can't even look at the affected area without wincing. Sometimes seeing stars, nausea or washes of red can accompany pain, and if it's really severe, the body just shuts down completely leaving you unconscious.
I just don't see much difference in physical pain and emotional pain, to be honest. The pain of betrayal and hurt leaves a person stunned, shell-shocked even. What follows is a parade of tears, anger, outbursts, melancholy. Yeah...painful and hard to forget.
My poor friend Rose is living minute by minute in pain. If you are familiar with the 'pain scale' where 1 is A-OK with no pain, and 10 being so bad you want to die, she is about a 5 consistently. That kind of pain definitely requires more than an ibuprofen tablet, that's for sure. Narcotics are definitely in order.
Unfortunately, there is no pain scale for emotional, relational pain. Though sometimes easy to hide, this kind of pain leaves scars that no one can see. However, those scars make their presence known in short order the next time trust is requested, required or assumed. Trust is the casualty of betrayal; friendship disregarded, destroyed little by little, is a sad death to watch. Pain of this sort can linger longer than physical pain, it is true. And no narcotics for heartache - any comfort measures only last for a short, ineffective time. No, it's not wise to drug this type of pain.
So what do we do with pain? We all handle it differently; some are strong and stoic (read 'grumpy') while others verbalize their distress with moans, whimpers and sobs. I don't know a better way, to be honest. The brain seems paralyzed of rational thought when pain racks the physical body. Emotional injury is no different leaving the victim reeling from the experience. Trying to examine the pain from an objective view is difficult at best, with the goal of releasing yourself from it's grip. I am reminded of Lamaze breathing for laboring women; acknowledging the pain and breathing though it, then feeling the grip of it loosen and letting it go. Can we let the memory of it go, as well?
Learning from pain is as natural as breathing; do everything possible to avoid it next time. Survival, that is. But can we learn more than just avoidance? Can we learn purposefully by examining the situation and finding a better solution for the next time? Can we gain wisdom from the experience? OK, you're right...that would require maturity and strength. Is it even possible?
I hope so.