I am a born optimist and prefer to look for the good but it’s not all butterflies and kittens out there. Some of the saddest, most painful times in our lives are part of the extraordinary creation process of making us who we are. Heat, pressure, pain, grief, loneliness. Don’t ignore those “negative” events when you’re working on your life story, whether you’re well on your way to processing it or it still just doesn’t make sense. Your scars and damaged bits are part of the whole package.
Ernest Hemingway’s ability to cut straight to the point is admirable, and although I’m not a rabid fan (don’t judge), I’ve learned quite a bit from reading his work. For example, take a look at this profound quote.
“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”
Just like when a bone is broken, it knits together stronger in that place. Years ago I was turning my horse out to pasture one afternoon; she was young, the granddaughter of a race horse and a bit high strung. In her joy to run free she kicked sideways like a karate boss and caught my forearm. Yes, it broke. This was my first experience with a broken bone and the pain was stunning! However, my arm was across my chest at the time, which means that piston kick with a thousand pounds behind it did not hit my heart. Neither did she connect with my head 12 inches higher.
That bone is stronger now but it also hurts when I overuse it and I’m starting to be able to tell the weather by how it feels, just like Grandpa used to do. It is a reminder to me of the grace that I walked away from that accident. Well, sort of, first I crawled. But—I never let go of the lead rope! It is a reminder that sometimes I need to slow down a little, pay attention and be thankful for the moment.
The broken emotional places that let the light in, as Hemingway noted, are many and varied too. Can you see how these things in your life have grown compassion, mercy and grace in you? I can.
Today’s memoir prompt—
Go sit next to the sadness or the anger. Don’t run away from it. Write about it with honesty and you will take a giant step toward healing and allowing this thing to take its proper place in your history. Try writing the story as just facts. Then, re-write it with the emotion or write what “should” have happened, what you’d do differently. Then—move forward, lighter and wiser.