I remember those days. When I didn’t know what pain was. Or sorrow. When my only worries were deciding what outfit to wear, or trying to pluck out my next baby tooth. How did I come this far? When did I grow up?
What happened to that shy little girl with the neverending smile? The one that spent her days jumping rope and singing without a care in the world. The one who never doubted how much she loved being alive.
I miss her.
Life is but a fleeting moment in the game of time. It is a second filled with happiness, sadness, anticipation, and pain all rolled into one. It teaches you not to grasp anything too tightly for in the end, you will learn that it is all temporary. You may ask, but what is its meaning? Why are we allowed to live when in the end we are all to face the pain of death? But to me, death isn’t the end. It is only a gate, a symbol of our souls passing through.
Family and friends look on and wave as you pass through. We are sad that you are traveling on without us and we will miss you. But we know that you are moving on to bigger and better things. You’ve accomplished what you needed to do here in this world. One day we will meet again. Until then, we will savor your memories with a smile and keep you nestled in our hearts, right where you belong.
When hurt and pain approach us, our first instinct is to avoid it, to shove it somewhere deep and hidden where it can’t bother us. No one wants to feel these negative emotions, but they are such an important part of the experience of living.
I believe that those who experience the strongest emotions lead the fullest lives. Consider Van Gogh, Beethoven, Virginia Woolf, who accomplished so much not in spite of, but because of the pain that they experienced. I’m not saying that I envy that lifestyle nor that one ought to lead a life of negativity; however, there is a reason that emotions like these exist. Painful emotions help us explore parts of ourselves and to feel things more deeply than ever before. And when it is all over, we can experience and appreciate our positive emotions with the same ferocity.
One of my favorite articulations of this idea stems from a scene in Louie, a slightly dark comedy through which I have actually learned some fairly deep life lessons. After Louis’ love interest moves away, he is in a world of pain. His insightful neighbor remarks: “This is the good part. This is what you’ve been digging for this entire time. The bad part is when you don’t care about her. When you don’t care about anything. The bad part is coming so enjoy the heartbreak while you can.”
Don’t be afraid to embrace the pain. Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t strong enough to block it out. Love yourself because you’re strong enough to take it in.