when we are hurting it is hard work to make our way to comfort. such. hard. work.
sometimes, when we hurt, our minds and bodies and hearts slow down. at times, to the point that we feel as though they are no longer capable of recovery. and sometimes they are not. there are just some hurts that are not recoverable from, so to speak. while we may move past them to other states of being, they leave scars. at other times our hurt speeds us up. adrenaline and the urge to defend ourselves against further pain cause us to lash out, hit back, or stew. at still other times our hurt seeks out more of itself because wejustcan’tlookaway. in these moments we “console” ourselves by heaping more hurt onto the pile. this is the state from which “misery loves company” was born. while the sentiment may not be completely accurate it is typically true that humans choose the familiar to the unknown. when we hurt, pain becomes our familiar.
hurt is complex and messy. we establish patterns, early on, of how we will deal with it, often moving through life either craving or avoiding it in one way or another. these patterns, unexamined, rarely serve us well.
to that end, might i make a suggestion? if you are feeling hurt, take a few deep breaths. look up and around, out past the hurt, for just a moment or two. find something that is absolutely beautiful, simple, soothing, comforting and go to it. resist the voices that tell you that you don’t have time, that your hurt is too big/serious/important to look away from for a few moments, or that there is nothing that could possibly comfort you in this state. go to the thing of beauty, of simplicity, of soothing, or comfort and be with it fully. let it’s power seep into your core. let it relieve you. even for just a moment. these moments of comfort provide a pain holiday of sorts, allowing you to come back to your hurt with a new resilience and perspective. sometimes with resources to address the hurt in more healthy ways.
after a long series of pains and hurts and burdens, i met week old wesley today. for the bit of time i was honored to hold him, i let the peace, beauty, serenity, bold goodness, and newness of life that is wes seep deeply into me. as i returned him to his (amazing) parent’s arms and hopped into my car i was surprised by a deep rumbling in my soul. this was followed by unexpected and uncontrollable tears. i wept. and then i wept some more. finally, at my destination, i wept until my stomach hurt and my eyes were swollen and my hurt was lessened. like rain after a drought, the tears softened the hard earth of my hurt. tonight none of the heavy situations around me are resolved but i am more ready to face them.
finding that which is uniquely comforting or soothing to you may be hard work. it is, however, hard work worth doing. let your senses guide you...eat or smell or look at something beautiful. jump on a trampoline, run hard and fast, or take a lingering walk one slow step at a time. take a bath. put your feet in a fountain. get lost in a crowd. hole up in your room or your yard or the library. read something silly or mindless or completely other worldly. let a familiar and safe location “hold” you. wrap yourself in a blanket and pull it tight around you, picturing the gaze of a loving (truly loving...that’s all...loving) God who delights in you. find someone who does delight in you and ask them to gaze at you or hold your hand or toss the frisbee or whatever it is that would help. whatever that is...find it...engage it. let it comfort you until the tears or the yells or the laughter or whatever else needs to come out of you comes out to make space for newness, softness, and the receptivity for grace.
if your hurt or your patterns of response to hurt are such that you simply can’t find a comforting place, path, or action, reach out to someone who can help you find that which will sooth your soul. therapists, counselors, children, wise elders, pastors, your sponsor, possibly even your neighbor are all good sources. if none of those are available to you, email me at email@example.com and let’s help you find your place of solace and rest.