Sunday, April 17, 2016

Resilience

Perhaps it's okay to break, afterall. Maybe that is actually the true purpose of life, if ever there was one: that living isn't about finding a form or function that is impermeable, infallible, indestructible. Living is in breaking, in drowning, in falling—living is even in hurting.

Long time ago, when I was stuck deep in my med-sci studies, one of my university professors said something which, obviously after all these years, stuck to me. He said, "The Earth will become a huge snowball, we will all die. Sure. But who are we kidding? The Earth is more resilient than we give it credit for. It's going to perish, sure, but it will still be there, and it will thrive again, light years after we have wiped ourselves off the face of it."

Maybe it is OK, therefore, to let yourself trust and be broken. It is OK, to feel the fifty million thousand frequencies of loss and despair. It is OK to paint your world with shades of anger, sorrow, melancholy, and grief. It would almost be wrong not to. Like being able to paint as many colours onto a canvas and never touching all the colours of possibility.

In breaking then, despite the many ways that the cracks seem irreparable, the way they creak and hurt again and again, like a misaligned patella that you fell on when ice-skating that many years ago and whenever you stand up or try running down stairs the pain comes shooting up your leg in remembrance, all it takes is not avoiding the pain but embracing it, exercising it.

Even when you feel that you have lost out, when your trust has been brutalized again and again, maybe sometimes the pain is the best opportunity for you to look it over and realize that those moments had more worth than you ever even knew, even (especially) when you were actually living it. There are moments that make you remember exactly why that trust was so deeply ingrained in you, why that Jenga piece was so vital to your sense of self. Perhaps that person gave you a mirror to look at yourself in ways you never were able to before. Maybe they gave you a blanket, just for a while, sometimes, if you were a bit cold. Maybe they lent you an umbrella, not expecting that the relationship would develop further than that casual transaction. Maybe you spent hours and hours, learning to be yourself for once in your life, because this person gave you the space to be that, with them.

These were beautiful moments, and yet moments always have an inexorable place in the past. There are echoes of that laughter which permeate even into the very present now, telling you, reminding you, that you have never laughed as much in your life or smiled as much as you did then—and even if it is gone, it had at least existed.

Perspective is such a compelling narrative.  Even that moment you fell, where you hurt so much and thought that was it: that was the end, that was life, goodbye, time and perspective allows you to see that 5 year old little child that you were, falling on the playground and skimming your hands with gravel embedded under the skin. Adulthood is no different from that child, because we are always lost children seeking something more: a best friend, or companionship, a better snack, or a great exhilarating experience on the slide; and we are always growing in ways even we do not know—until we break.

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. — Corrie ten Boom (quote that popped up in my inbox after I finished writing this post)
 There is a reason we can forgive, and maybe even as we cannot forget because we are still scared—maybe now more than ever—to trust again, we learn to forgive ourselves. We are all broken children, but in breaking, and breaking again and again, we have learnt to become a little more accountable to and for ourselves.

Sometimes you realize that the trust you thought was shattered is actually only a small dwarf planet compared to the huge expanse of a neverending universe of that patient, deep-abiding, resilient love within which it revolves.


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