The truth of quote from Alain De Botton resonates deeply with me.
While none of us ever seek to be hurt, often the legacy of deep, personal pain is an increased sensitivity which makes us so much more appreciative of the beauty around us.
I know after my sister’s death I thought I’d feel whole or happy again. And while it’s taken thirteen terrible years to adjust to life without her, I have become a much happier and more resilient woman than I was before her death.
I think this is partly because, as De Botton alludes to, even when our wounds have healed, there remains a part of us that remembers the trauma we’ve experienced and accordingly, recognises the fragility of life. There is a part of us that is less likely to take things for granted and a part that is more likely to consciously stop and honour all that is good in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have some horrible days when the yearning to see and hold and talk to my sister again feels unbearable. And would I want to walk the journey to wholeness again? Never, the years since her death have been the hardest I’ve ever known but my life is infinitely richer for them.
The experience of great pain or loss cracks our hearts wide open, if we let it. It doesn’t seem like a gift at the time but it is.
If we let it, great pain opens our eyes and insists we become more present – both with ourselves, and with the world around us. In doing so, we discover a deep appreciation for the smaller things that we might have missed, had we not being paying attention.
Love to you all from freezing cold Melbourne, Justine