On a Letter to Your Pain

How long will you hold on to the hurt?

The years stretched by, and the hurts mounted up. Piled up, acquiring their own gravity, their own orbit. Hurts of omission and commission. Subtle and grotesque, battering and bruising. But you were good. You kept quiet. The smiles hiding the gnawing pain inside. You smoothed things over.  Didn’t talk about it. Composure over chaos. Choosing the unreal over the real. Telling yourself that your strength allowed you to take the pain without complaint.

The pain feels so good, so comfortable now. An old, awful friend. Almost powerful, but still a lameness, a brokenness. A ready excuse for all future hurts; it’s always been this way and will forever more. You set it aside, ignore it, pretend it’s not there. Give it its space, its due, its terrible respect.

But you know.

You hate its cancerous torment.

You are an expert cataloguer of pain, of misdeeds, of hurt. They are a currency for you, a system of exchange filling your mental coffer. You know the balance and anticipate future deposits. Withdrawals are never allowed. A tormented usury.

No one ever told you the secret that there aren’t boogeymen. There aren’t monsters. Just the prisons we construct in our hearts. Beautiful, horrific prisons, trapping parts of ourselves, cleaving them off. An amputation. A condemnation of our own doing. Prisons of pain. We can leave any time, but choose not to. We take solace in the confinement. Maybe even revel in it. Share it. Bare it for all to see. Or keep it hidden, a private stash to be uncovered alone. Take it out, marvel in its potent ugliness, and hide it again. Hide it again. Hide it again.

All your joy, all your happiness is muted by this yoke. Rubbed out, erased. Such a heavy mass; nothing escapes from it for long. Or so it seems. You will always snap back to it. At the end of days, you will stare at it. Alone. It has held off all others, all light, all good. It has consumed you.

Replaced you.

It is heavy and black, but not infinitely so. You can sense the light bending around its periphery. Small, dim, but there. Traveling millions of miles in your soul. No amount of pain, no hurt can extinguish it. It never leaves you. It is always there, a companion just like your pain. It does not have a voice, it does not call out. You cannot listen for it. But you can sense it. And you can follow it. Follow it against the awful pull of the pile of hurts. It is not slowed by tears, anger, or sadness.

It is beauty. It is grace. It is all these things, and more. It is forgiveness. For you and others. But mainly for you. It can tear down the prison, the confinement, the isolation. The cleaved can be made whole. The darkness lifted, the pain abated. The years of hurts slipping through your fingers into the beyond, blessedly out of reach.

How long will you hold on to the hurt?

One thought on “On a Letter to Your Pain

  1. Certain “hurts” will just be repeated. Maybe not the same exact way, but people that fail to acknowledge disrespecting you, will do it again.


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