“The wound is the place Light enters you” – Rumi
About a year ago, we were entertaining guests on a friday night. I opened the refrigerator to offer my friend a beer, and the bottle seemed to launch itself at me from its overstuffed pocket and smashed to the tile floor, pulverizing in an impressive explosion of beer foam and teeny shards of glass. One particular piece of miniscule shrapnel left the tip of my pointer finger bleeding, the glass stubbornly embedded itself deeper and deeper with each attempt to pull it out. Eventually, my finger healed over the shard, and I had a tiny brown freckle at the tip of my finger. It would give me a sharp, biting reminder of it’s presence once in a while, when any pressure was applied to my fingertip. It was a part of me, this invader, a permanent wound lurking under a new layer of skin. I lived with it there for a long time. And then, many months later, I found myself in pain again. My finger became red and sore, the tip got swollen and hot, and my body began to fight. The eviction notice had been sent.
This process was shocking and sudden and a bit unwanted… I had grown accustomed to the glass, and did not appreciate the throbbing pain I was suddenly dealing with. The expulsion was much more painful than the first moment it entered me and left me bleeding. My body smartly worked that glass back to the surface of my fingertip, and in a moment of desperation, wanting to end the pain, I aggressively pinched under the enflamed tissue, hard and tight, and squeezed until the glass cut through the skin once again. Finally rejected, I rinsed it away, purged at last.
I have been silent. Gone.
Things happened, and the pain swallowed me up for a while. And I am learning that I do not handle my own pain well. I have no tolerance for my own tears. My own suffering. It simply does not feel just, when I am so aware of my privelege. There is a magnitute of suffering outside my own sphere that I cannot comprehend… So, I have learned to be scornful of my wounds. And now, that scorn has revealed itself… the dark truth of it’s nature.
We all have shrapnel, healed over and buried beneath our skin. Words that carry shame and rejection, moments that violate and negate… these are the shards that cut deep and become a part of us, grown in. We carry them until it is time. When we are ready to let them surface, force them out, and bleed again.
But it is not the purging that transforms.
It is in the wounding. The embedding. The healing.
In this spiraled process, we are found whole.
We think we get over things.
We don’t get over things.
Or say, we get over the measles,
but not a broken heart.
We need to look at that distinction.
The thing that becomes part of our experience,
never becomes less a part of our experience.
How can I say it?
The way to get over a life is to die.
Short of that you move with it, let the pain be pain.
Not in the hope that it will vanish
But in the faith that it will fit in,
find its place in the shape of things
and be then, not any less pain,
but true to form.
Because anything natural has an inherent
shape and will flow towards it.
And, a life is as natural as a leaf.
That’s what we are looking for:
Not the end of a thing,
but the shape of it.
Wisdom is seeing the shape of your life
without obliterating, getting over,
a single instant of it.