Pain and Freedom

Among other events, thoughts on my friend Brian who this morning explained the fresh stitches on his forehead were from being rolled in an alley by the coliseum…

There’s a break in. Something’s stolen. An old piece of folk art, a ceramic ornament that was a gift, some collected CDs, a jacket that you’ve worn for years.

There’s a loss, a long planned vacation, a job, a relationship.

There’s an accident, a sickness, a death…

manbench There’s no pain like your own. Personal pain does not admit comparisons. Personal pain only admits compassion.

How good it would be to find freedom, perfect freedom. The kind that never dies, is stolen or lost.

How good it would be to feel all the pain that needs feeling but feel it within a tenacious and splendid freedom. Like hearing a favorite piece of music even while the first shock waves roll over you.

How good it would be to always hear the music you need at every moment in your broken life. How right to see the art forming within all the bits of broken glass that is your soul.

To receive the comfort of an old jacket even while an iron wind tries ripping it off your back, that, it seems, is something like freedom.

And yet, when the loss comes with pain tagging along, we find ourselves in its grip, under its control, and sometimes the best we can do is admit our helplessness in the face of it, and hope we aren’t crushed. Seems to me that at more than one point in his life, Jesus too, knew this.

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