It infiltrates itself like water into sand and like a current of strong muddy slush, it undermines our joy and shapes our lives.
Pain is like a neglected sore and an assault over our sense of well being. It comes stealthily in our psyche and forges our best traits but can also reveal our worst nature.
My childhood was full of enchantment. Life at the top of the tallest trees, books in my hands, dolls made alive with will and love, colors to paint, and a family to enchant with tales and history. I was alone on my hill retreat and my rare friends called me “the lone light of Debussy,” our neighborhood.
I drew maps of the trees for the other children, led them up the mountains, gathered butterflies and let the blooms talk to me. It was a silent language that I could understand. Life on top of the hill was magical. Poetry was normal.
Until the government was ousted, my uncle, a secretary of state then, had to go into exile. Duvalier the dictator came into power and all I knew just died, along with so many people, family members killed or disappeared. Our family was shunned. Life became a never ending session of survival and fear. Pain was asserting itself and I had no defense.
That was my first great encounter with pain. I shoved it in dark boxes where the sun did not appear and the light of stars let it show its head, but I was young and strong and acted a fancy front as if nothing really bothered me. People around me were dying but I survived and eventually, I escaped the country.
Was pain the winner? I never grieved openly. I could not cry. I learned to live with my will, my courage, my strength. Pain had shown me the power of its forging qualities but I was left so vulnerable, alone inside and it took time for my joy to emerge in the course of the days. It took time for me to listen to my inner voice and lead a life of pride and humility. It took time to heal and to speak of the past and its history and bring my love to the surface where it lives now.
I learned. Pain has been assaulting my life ever since showing its head where I do not want it, but I practiced what I learned: give it time and let myself experience all of my feelings of sadness so that pain, the tears, the harm, the destruction can slowly go down the flow of life and leave me whole, laughing, up river.
Copyright Micheline Brierre 2010