Thursday, December 01, 2005

Love, uninterrupted

The human spirit is not dead. It lives on in secret... Albert Schweitzer

I read once in a book, that when you're drowning in sorrow, look around and try to make someone else feel better. What goes around, comes around.

I was like any arrogant young person, secure in my impeturbability. I thought I could handle anything life threw at me, without breaking down, showing a reaction, acting like a girl. Then when the dark night of the soul showed up, it was like... a living darkness, I could not plumb its depths. It was like being thrown down and crushed upon the ground over and over again. Every time I picked yourself up and thought, OK that's it, I can begin to rebuild, the darkness would hit and there I would be, cracked glass shattering all over again.

You will never stop falling...

Of course, if you asked me then what the value of this experience was, I would have said, absolutely nothing at all. Suffering doesn't strengthen. It turns us into bloodless shadows. But when I came out on the other side, I found I suddenly had compassion. Gone was the youthful arrogance of: "Oh, get a grip."

I knew now that some pain went too deep for glib solutions. So many Eleanor Rigbys out there thinking, if I were to die, who would know, who would even care? A pine box, some earth, and it will be as if I never lived.

An old lady sat next to me on a park bench. She started by asking me about where I came from and went on to tell me the story of her life. I bought her a coffee and listened. It was like someone had unstoppered a dam. She couldn't wait to get the words out and I don't think I have ever met someone so lonely, hurt, abused and yet, innocent, childlike and trusting. I know if I had met her before, a part of me would have been scornful at her lack of self-control, her eager confidence in a complete stranger. Now, I saw only a deep pain and a loneliness so profound that it threw all natural caution to the winds.

All the lonely people, where do they all come from...

I don't know where they come from. I just know they're there. Broken people. Like us. We're broken too. You know what I mean...

And sometimes the misery slams you against a wall and you know you're gonna crack right open. But your skin holds together. That is the miracle of skin. It doesn't crack under pressure unless you help it to.

To be broken is to know that nothing is right and nothing will ever be right again. You know what I'm talking about. You know that you can look at a Van Gogh and just want to curl up into a ball on the floor and scream silently. You know that however much you cut yourself, you can't bleed it away. Or dull it with wine. Or sky-coloured pills.

And nobody understands. Nobody will EVER understand. Remember that. And just keep on shattering. When God arrives to sweep up the pieces maybe you can finally ask why.


But being broken ourselves, we do understand. Being, 'there, but for the grace of God, go I' we can help.

I came upon a doctor who appeared in quite poor health. I said: "There's nothing I can do for you that you can't do for yourself." He said: "Oh yes you can. Just hold my hand. I think that would help." So I sat with him a while then I asked him how he felt. He said: "I think I'm cured." Conor Oberst

It's called love. It goes a long way.

9 comments:

goldennib said...

Beautiful.

~Lil Nance ;> said...

Suffering made me bitter... making it through the suffering... made me grow up and be more understanding of everyone.

Lovely as usual!

Andy said...

Another beautiful entry. I heard the expression "We are all walking wounded" lately and think for the most part, it's true.

Jenn said...

Thank you, you guys. Will write more extensively later. Right now am into last few days here and rushing around like headless chicken.

Excuse me while I have a nervous breakdown...

lily said...

I agree with Andy. Stunning!

m said...

this is a wonderful piece.

Jenn said...

Thank you Lily. I am back in Malaysia now. At leisure to write, but for the most part, too steaming hot to do so.

Jenn said...

Goldennib: Thank you dear.

Nancy: I hear you. Suffering made me bitter too. Until I found that my bitterness was hurting nobody but me. When you close up, the love inside you turns toxic and starts to dissolve you from the inside.

Andy: A friend of mine told me that exiles are walking wounds. I thought it was beautifully put. The thing is, when we realise everyone is hurt, I guess we feel less need to simultaneously lash out and self protect.

M: Where have you been girl? Missed you.

lemontree said...

jenn, have been waiting for your next post.
getting anxious.