I used to think that life was pretty black and white.
Live or die. Stay or go. Yes or no. Love or hate. Hot or cold. Alone or together.
Totally cut and dried. Black and white.
Now though? Every year that I grow older, every moment that I live through, every new memory that I make teaches me that black and white is blasphemy. A crock. A sham.
It can never be that simple.
I think people are bound to hurt other people – intentionally or not – based on deep seeded fears and ignorance. I suppose that sounds cynical but I’m sorry – it’s been my experience. I do, however, think love can conquer those hurts – if it wants to.
If the heart has the strength to forgive – even when it can’t forget.
There are things I’d have sworn on just months ago – that I wouldn’t now. There are judgements that I have made that I had no business making. Just when I’d seen it all and believed I’d been through hell and back and felt the deepest of pains – life happened – and every wound I ever had felt re-ripped open. Fresh. Aching. Gushing hurt that brought me to my knees and made me bitter. Cynical. Even doubtful.
I suppose it’s this way for everyone. We live life moment to moment and we flip from near perfection to near agony to somewhere in between….in between the shades of gray.
Tragedies strike in moments when even seconds before everything was okay.
Accidents. Deaths. Diagnoses. Betrayals. Job losses. Natural disasters.
All of them. Who the hell every predicts or expects them? We tell ourselves we can’t live like that….because that’s not really a life………waiting for the “axe to fall.”
But then it falls. And you’re in shock – because for years you’ve been telling yourself not to fear “the axe”.
Yet, when you least expect it, everything you know is ripped to shreds and falls to pieces. You wonder if anything you see is real or true. You throw up walls you thought you long ago had broken down. You feel defeated. You tell yourself the world is a cruel place and no one can be trusted.
It’s just easier to tell yourself that then to try to believe again. Believing again requires faith and hope.
And sometimes I just can’t conjure any of that up.
The thing is – when something happens and you feel like your soul has been shattered and your core is never going to be able to withstand the pain…you wake up and figure out that you did.
You didn’t melt or die or “lose it”. You may have felt like you did – but you didn’t. In the back of my mind, I hear a voice whispering, “Embrace the pain. There’s a reason for it. God is trying to teach you something – if you’ll only listen.”
If I stay the course and remain steadfast in my belief that everything happens for a reason – then I cannot break. Everything I’ve said and done and been a part of can’t be for nothing.
Life isn’t black and white. It’s a billion shades of gray mixed with laughter and pain. If you can’t see that – and behind your wall – you refuse to see anything but black and white – well then – when tragedy strikes, you won’t make it through.
The pain will eat you alive when it hits. And trust me – it will hit. In some way, shape or form – it will come. Pretending it won’t – for me – was just stupid. It was black and white thinking.
No one can escape pain completely. Really. Who did I think I was?
And that’s not the point of pain anyway. It’s not meant to “eat you alive”.
The point of pain is to rise above it.
To conquer it. To be able to calm it, even mute it. To heal it.
To become better because of it – not in spite of it.
Past fears, hurts and agonies can define us and crush us and they can consume us – if we let them.
And it’s definitely a choice on how I let it define me – then and now.
Some days the choice is easy. Some days it isn’t.
It’s about letting go of the pain I pretended I'd never feel and deciding if my heart can live with my head if I decide to do just that.
It’s just never black and white.
I can’t believe I ever thought it was.
Life is so much more complicated than that. Or I suppose we’d never change or grow or evolve.
But I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that a part of me doesn’t mind not changing or growing or evolving –
if that meant I didn’t have to feel the pain.
I wish life was black and white. But wishes are like fairy tales.
And neither one really exists.
***Disclaimer....I'm fine. Sometimes I just go to a dark place and need to write it out. No worries!