Pain Noun: Physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury.Today, I burned my hand while cooking dinner. It caused me pain. There is a pink shiny line running down the center of my palm trough my head line which is broken in two places (for those who are into palm reading). Coincidentally, I have had my head slammed to the street surface twice. I'm sure the location of the burn has no significance other than that I cook with my hands and not with my feet.
On my left wrist I wear a bruise the color of an eggplant. I would say that it caused me pain, but I don't remember how it even got there, and it is not tender. When I stub my toe, I say a few choice words and dance around like it is going to alleviate the sharp pain somehow, and my children watch as they try not to giggle because I might get mad if they do.
During the Susan G. Komen event I suffered tremendous pain due to multiple sizable blisters. When it comes to physical pain, we can't always take the pain away, but we can take measures to lessen it. We can apply salves, burst a blister, take some aspirin, put ice on it, use a bandage. In extreme cases, we go to the emergency room for more potent medicines. There are a number of remedies available for physical pain.
But what about emotional pain?I can't see it. I can't touch it. I don't truly know where to apply the bandage or the salve. Recent events have surfaced a pain in me that I thought I had gotten rid of over a decade ago. It is a pain that traveled my childhood and adolescence with me and through most of my college years. It is the pain that drove me to study psychology.
Perhaps it is the pain that I tried to capture in this self portrait from when photography was my minor.
In an effort to ease the pain, I have found myself looking for how to forgive. I was wrong in thinking the pain was gone. The pain was covered over with a sheet in the dark corner of the attic of my mind. Once in a while it would catch my attention but then it would be gone again, never affecting me the way it used to.
And so now, I look to forgive. I do not forgive for them. I forgive for me. If I do not, I can never be truly happy again. The pain had manifested itself into physical discomfort. I find myself at the gym trying to run the pain away and then I find myself crying in the car after I'm finished running.
Today the emotional pain manifested itself as illness. I found myself at the local pharmacy's clinic to be told it was most likely a simple case of allergies. I received some nasal spray and told to run on. Then I had another session of tears in the car as I came to the realization that I was not physically run down from illness, but rather from emotion.
So I write this blog in an effort to begin the process of true forgiveness. It will not be instant. It will take a long time, but I will make peace with the pain and be thankful for the last 12 years. The years when the pain was hidden. This time though, I will not hide it back in the attic. I will put it out on the curb to be taken to the landfill. Not to be forgotten, but to be learned from.
"Forgiveness is a process. Forgiveness is not about giving your approval of an offender's wrong-doing. It's not about viewing what they did as less harmful than it truly was. And it'snot about giving the offender a "free pass" to keep on doing wrong actions against you. Forgiveness is about recognizing that staying resentful creates an "active echo" of the pain the offender caused. By saying that the awful offense the offender did is "beyond forgiving" you give them the power to keep their offense alive in your heart. Basically, you give them offender continued power over you. forgiveness begins with the mind recognizing that there's a truthful logic in how the past cannot be changed, but happily the present and future can be. Eventually forgiveness progresses to the heart with the heart deciding it will no longer the offender's pain to take permanent residence. Yes, it is a process, but eventually the mind and heart together recognize that the choice to forgive is both logical and spiritually liberating."~Karen Salmansohn