Isn’t that how it feels, living with pain? We’re in uncharted territory and don’t know where to turn or if there will ever be a safe haven again. We’re drifting out there in the sea alone. Maybe we’ll find a way and maybe we won’t. Maybe we’ll be stuck out there for a very long time and maybe we’ll go under.
The currents were carrying my friend further away from safety. Not unlike the currents of fear, panic, victimization, despair. They take us further from where we want to go, further from healing.
That’s when we have to look within to find the place in ourselves that believes, even one iota, that we are worth the journey. We have to look up and out from ourselves too, to find something greater than us. Something we can focus on, something that can guide us, something that gives a ray of light, of hope. Then we have to use our will and our strength and our courage to begin to move toward that.
My friend eventually saw the tip of a roof over a wave and paddled like mad toward it. It was hard going against the current. He was exhausted and terrified. But when he told me the story, I could see that something inside him had changed. He’d had to dig deep inside himself to find reserves he didn’t know he had to be able to overcome his fear, fight the current and find his way back.
His struggle was so like our journey through pain. How hard it is. How we have to keep our heads above the water, even when we feel pulled under. Maybe we rest there for awhile, just floating, and maybe it feels like we’re paddling forever or like the wind is against us, the waves going the wrong direction. Maybe it feels like we might want to gently slip off that surfboard and let the ocean take us. And isn’t that when life somehow conspires to buoy us up just enough to see a sign of hope in the distance?
Those of us who are still here are finding something inside of us that is strong and sure and stable and eternal. Something stronger than the pain, a core that believes in us despite everything we’ve been through. And this is something we can draw on. A touchstone, a place we go to over and over again for inner strength, spiritual strength. It is the part of us that wants to live, wants to heal, won’t give up.
I am still here, I am still strong, I am still paddling and there is a shore out there, even if I can’t see it. Maybe closer than I thought.