Contractions, Waves and Heartache

Pain is a terrible thing, but it ends. It changes. It undulates, like waves, moves up and back down again.

Photo credit: 7-themes.com
Photo credit: 7-themes.com

There were times where I thought I couldn’t survive pain. When I was in labor with my boys, I wanted to Pause everything. I wanted someone to come and make it end. I thought I couldn’t keep going. But I made it.

The contractions ebbed and flowed, rose and fell, and for a few moments, I was free again. 

Heartache is the same way. This past fall, I was overcome with paranoia and fear. I wondered if it would always be this way. I felt trapped in my mind, unable to escape the horror show that played in my head.

But it slowed. I grew stronger, and the waves subsided.

They still return. I still fight hopelessness daily. But I usually win.

I know about the waves now. I feel one coming, and I brace myself. Then instead of letting it knock me flat, I can relax a little. I can watch it come and go. I can hold onto something deeper and wider and taller than this little feeling in this little moment. 

This too shall pass, I can say with certainty. It passed last time. It will pass again. And I reach up for Truth.

Knowing this makes me less afraid of pain, less afraid its oceans will swallow me up. More sure I can do hard things. More certain God will keep his word about never leaving.

The pain, the mourning, is only during the night. But joy comes in the morning, and the morning will surely come.

{Inspiration for this post came from an interview with Joy Williams, formerly of The Civil Wars. Here she talks with Marie Claire about becoming a woman and how her grief and loss from the ending of The Civil Wars taught her about who she is and what being a woman is. It reminded me that pain resolves, not just by being tucked away but when felt, it actually transforms us into a more beautiful version of ourselves if we let it. 

One of her new songs, Until The Levee, speaks to the phenomenon of pain and its wave-like qualities.

“I’m going to stand, I’m gonna stand here in the ache, until the levee, until the levee on my heart breaks.” 

I’m happy to see and hear Joy performing and feeling so alive again. Hearing her talk about performing after a long hiatus reminded me of the temporary nature of pain and that we will feel alive again. It’s only a matter of time. 

Here’s Until The Levee

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