Thursday, July 16, 2015


The greatest and most intense human pain, whether bereavement, loss, betrayal or grief is a normal part of the human experience.  Those who realize that it is normal to feel terrible at times, but know that is is not a permanent condition, ultimately have richer and more balanced lives than those who cannot envision a lessening of pain, or cannot see beyond a permanent solution for the temporary agony of spirit.

I say lessening because the most acute pain of human existence is not something that you ever get over, it's something that you only get through and some days are better than others. And some days, the realization that some human issues, your human issues, have no silver lining, is too much to bear, so you cry, and you grieve some more in your own way, where you can, when you can, where you permit yourself to feel.

The most painful experiences and realities of the human condition are most like embers, sitting in your soul quietly for the most part, not too hot, but nothing you particularly want to touch and feel.

Then a gust of memory blows toward you like a gale force wind, and the embers are stoked, and glow hotter and hotter, until you despair. They raise your temperature, take over your mind, and give you no peace for seconds, minutes, or sometimes days and weeks.

Not only is your soul on fire, but your sleep is disturbed, your focus is hampered. Pedestrian tasks become excruciatingly challenging to complete. Mundane comments made by totally innocuous other beings become arrows extracting drops of blood or tears. Songs take on different meanings. Words mean different things. You weep. You wipe away the salty, human drops of mourning. You take a breath, and another and another.

And then, just as mysteriously as the wind blew in, it disappears, leaving absolutely incongruous silence in its wake.

Your house still looks the same, your children smell the same after their bath, you get into the same car, walk down the same street. Your embers dim and give you back momentary peace, allow you respite, and a walkway back toward the normal state of your soul where they are not too hot, not too cold, just always there.

No human life is without its embers. 

Those who love you, truly love you will not take on the role of the wind, will provide shelter from the storm, and a reason to wait by your side for the slow, sometimes agonizingly slow cool down. The never permanent cool down.

Everyone has their embers.

Even those who appear the strongest with the most voracious appetite for life and living have something or, in fact, many things that they take great pains to protect from the wind.

Living with your embers is human.

Not playing the role of the wind is divine.