I'm awake. It's one-thirty in the morning and I'm awake. In pain, but only the average garden variety. Hormonal headache. I almost view it in a friendly light when it keeps me up like this. Lots of good thinking and praying happens in the quiet and dark.
Of course, I could do without the pain.
Or could I?
My writing group has been talking a lot about pain the past few weeks. Not many of us care for it. But pain is good. Right? It really is. It tells us something is wrong, that we need to pay attention to something. Sometimes pain can be managed, but can't be fixed. Sometimes it can barely be managed. But most of the time the pain points to something that can and should be dealt with. And not always by us directly. Sometimes a professional needs to pinpoint and fix the source of pain.
My daily headaches, for instance, were tension headaches. They were trying to tell me that my life is stressful and that I was holding the stress inside too much. That my posture wasn't necessarily good. That I needed to cry and laugh and emote more in general. Sometimes specifically. Then a chiropractor came along and helped fix it. Yay! (That doesn't mean that I no longer need to emote - only that I'm now working from a place where I'm not fighting uphill to do so)
So I've been thinking about pain, not just in myself, but in others.
I think maybe I attract people in pain. Emotional pain. They can sense it in me, maybe. Yet another purpose my headaches serve? Heh. Once upon a time I did one of two things - I either pushed these people away, or I allowed them to dump all over me. I took on their pain for a bit, then pushed them away anyway. Both bad reactions.
I'm learning to respond rather than react. Now I tend to hold a severely hurting person at a slight distance, yet still be inclusive, friendly. I try not to shut people out or draw too close immediately. What I've found is that people in emotional distress have trouble trusting. So if I push them away, they are validated in not trusting others. And if I let them dump, THEN push them away, it's a far worse validation.
I love hurting people. I know what hurt feels like. Very much. I also know I can't fix anyone. And I can't be everyone's best friend.
So I wait and watch and listen. And stay nearby the whole while. Little bits of the trauma spill out. Eventually trust is built, given. Eventually the whole story can come out. And I don't run away or push away.
The other thing about people who are needing emotional CPR? They can be scary, off-putting. It frightens the people who may be able to help them. But see, the scary people, the ones who are protecting themselves, are sending off the same kind of signals that my body gives off when something hurts. OW OW OW OW OW. It's obvious.
I'm not a doctor. Of any kind. Just a mom. So I do the mom thing. I stay nearby. I hold their hand. When they settle down enough to let me get close, I look at the boo boo. I listen to them cry. I might kiss it and make it better, which is nothing magical. Or I might recommend a real doctor.
Listen to your pain. Take time to listen to other people's pain. Really listen, not fix. It's almost always instructive. Builds character. Might even change someone's life. Might change your own life.
I know it changes mine.
Until I write again ...