Friday, February 22

Love is Pain.

How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity? (Moses 7:29)

I don't think there's anything more painful than watching someone I love suffer and feeling helpless to ease their sorrow.

There are pain medications to dull the pain of appendicitis. There is peace and love from God even when my own sins have wracked me with torment, or when I feel alone and lost and frustrated with the world.

But there is no way to numb the pain I feel for others without also numbing the love I have for them.

Emotions can't be turned off one by one. To stop the pain, I would have to go numb.


I've been numb before.

During high school, overwhelmed with the guilt of addiction, inadequacy, and depression, I turned off my feelings. Not all of them. Just enough to be able to get through a day. Or an hour. Or a moment. All that life seemed to offer was pain... and I didn't want to kill myself. So I became numb. Those were the only two options I saw, and since no one else knew, I had no one to tell me otherwise.

And, for a while, it worked. Bottling up all my feelings made life easier. Simpler. Instead of making choices based on passion, I just did what I thought was best. And the pain disappeared into the background. But so did love and everything good in life. When the world offered me the chance to be a performer or study physics, I chose physics... because it was stable, secure, and rigorous. I didn't ask myself what I wanted to do. Maybe I took my love out of the drawer and looked at it for a moment, but ultimately I put it back away.

I didn't believe I could handle it. Loving myself, people, the world, and life, so much... and watching so much pain.

But numbness hurts even more than having a broken heart.

Numbness pulls the meaning from life entirely... and makes it impossible to laugh, to smile, to dance and enjoy the moment. Nothing matters when I'm numb, and when nothing matters, life, as a whole, is awful.

At least when I'm in love, I can see the minuscule good things in life... if I'm willing to look for them. When I let myself love and hope, I have feelings for people. Motivation to do whatever I can to help them find happiness... and a willingness to find any cure for their pains. I would climb a mountain or change the world to see them smile. Yes, love opens the door to pain. Pain so intense that it rips me apart and makes me want to take something to numb my life again.

But it's better to have loved, and lost, and gone through the incredible torment that brings, then to never have loved at all.


  1. Your words of humanity, and humility, remind me of a quote I recently read from C.S. Lewis. "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

  2. Thank you for your honesty and insights. Your writing here, along with something I was reading yesterday about 'friendships' reminds me of an 'awh hah' moment I had a few years ago. Being vulnerable to 'love & be loved' can be complicated, or, it can be simple.

    One day, I was talking with my mom and sisters about how I had not (for many years) made any close/real friends with any of the sisters in my LDS ward or my neighborhood. I admit, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, but ultimately, I knew the truth that, "you have to 'be' a friend to 'have' a friend".

    Oh, I had my 'reasons' for not reaching out, like - I believed that I was just not worthy, nor did I have the time to be a GOOD friend, or how I had been soooo 'out there and involved' for so many years that I needed a break, and how I was really protecting any potential friend from being hurt by me (since I knew I was kinda wishy/washy & my life was real crazy), and how I was just doing the 'right' thing by putting my family first, etc. etc.

    I was admitting to them about how 'wrong' I had been, because I was having some health issues, and struggling, and so, (because of my closed heart & therefore lack of 'friends'), I was now left with NO ONE around me to be a support to me. I had no one to lean on, and I was wondering and worrying about how I would manage, if my health problems got really bad, with my mom & sisters all living in different towns, my husband's employment taking him away from home often, and my daughters soon to ALL be living away as well. (Poor me) :(

    Then, almost immediately, as I expressed these 'selfish' thoughts, I was overcome with emotion as this thought entered my head, "what are you thinking??? - how dare you dwell on all the 'love & support' you have caused yourself to miss out on.......what about the 'love & support' YOU 'could have' been offering to those 'potential' friends who you choose not to reach out to. not to embrace, and not to love". ~~~ As my tears began to flow, I was so embarrassed and ashamed, I cried to my mom & sisters and apologized for being so self-centered and foolish.

    I prayed to my Heavenly Father for forgiveness, and asked for the strength to reach out, for His help as I learned to forget myself and think of others. I'm working on being more vulnerable, and although I still have a long way to go as I evolve and improve, I have been so blessed with some wonderful 'new' (and some old & forgotten) friends. And, as I feel the comfort, fulfillment, joy and love that comes from 'seeing' others and 'serving' others, I now consciously look for opportunities to 'BE A FRIEND' - and God continuously places such opportunities along my way.


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