SUFFERING AND LOVE

SUFFERING AND LOVE

Sometimes an impact is so sudden, so unexpected, so jarring, so severe that the automatic closure of the reptilian brain seems somehow to be circumvented. 

This has occurred for me only a few times in my life. It has taken two predominant forms: great love, and profound suffering. 

I have found that both of those energies are equally as scary. I know that most would argue with the validity of that statement. But in my experience, we humans are as afraid of deep, intimate love as we are uncontrollable, profound suffering. And the two of those are far from unrelated. Deep, intimate love can lead us to uncontrollable, profound suffering, and in fact, often does. Anyone who has loved deeply and lost that love suddenly certainly knows that. Therefore, we fear them equally. 

Inherent in loving fully is the risk of suffering deeply. For me, the love is worth the risk. Not that I don’t flinch. Not that I am not tempted to close or to withhold. Not that the temptation is to timidly wait until the other ventures first into the vulnerable expression of “I love you.” 

Not that as a result of choosing to love you I won’t suffer. I well might. But I have learned to take and to even welcome that risk. 

So, the current sudden, unexpected impact took the form of a diagnosis. It was for me both jarring and severe. While I am surrounded by a chorus of “you’ll be fine” I am committed to entertaining all the possibilities. A curt “fine” does not feel open to me. It feels far more like a subtle form of closure. And one of the gifts that has already flowed forth for me is that the impact of the news has not led to sustained closure. It is one of those miraculous moments when impact leads to expanded awareness and inexplicable openness. And I am fully committed to maintaining that state of openness throughout this adventure. 

I feel vulnerable and sensitive. I feel defenseless. I sense a great unguardedness. I feel the likelihood that I will live, and the possibility that I could die. And I feel a deep willingness to welcome it all. 

I lived so many years armored up, unconsciously expecting to be hurt. What I am about to face will in fact hurt. There will indeed be pain. There well may be suffering. I am facing those realities not with dread, but with acceptance. I am not looking forward to this. I am not a masochist or a martyr. But as the day draws nearer, I am devoting myself to staying open and undefended to whatever course this may take. Whatever pain will be involved. Whatever complications may or may not arise. 

I am willing to meet this suffering with great love. 

This health challenge is not an enemy to be conquered. It is not a dragon to be slain. It is not a call to suppression or denial either. I am meeting this face to face, and quite literally heart to heart. 

There are many who simply do not deal well with suffering. Theirs or someone else’s. I so totally get that. And I ask you to stand back. I appreciate you remaining still about how I choose to move through this. If you truly care about me than let me be. I will welcome you back when this storm has passed. 

Those who want to move a little closer I ask you to hold me in your heart and know that I fear not the suffering. I fear not the pain. Say little and hold me in great love. I am someone who in times like these does not want people in proximity. I do not want a stream of visitors. It is just not who I am. Interpretations of that are not helpful. 

While I am in suffering simply hold me in love. I am pained, but I am open. My body is weakened but my spirit is strong. I will come through and out of this more open and honest and giving than I was when it began. 

And that increased openness is worth any amount of suffering that may occur.