Expressing Our Pain

On days like this I struggle to find words to express how I am feeling. There are so many emotions and so many thoughts rattling around inside of me that it would be hard to give all of them a voice. What adds to the confusion is the fact that my feelings and thoughts center around pain, pain that is fresh. In the wake of recent difficult experiences, I always know that there is a lot going on inside me, I just tend to be unable to make an accurate diagram of all of these internal phenomena.

There are a few people who seem to be gifted at making sense of what happens inside of them in the wake of loss and pain. Some people are especially challenged in this area. And then there are the rest of us who tend to muddle through somehow.

I find that there is a huge blessing in being able to take hold of the words that someone else has said in the midst of their own suffering. Sometimes other people have marvelously described their own feelings and struggles amidst their trials with words that I can easily apply to my own situation. The voice of some other sufferer can give my confused, muddling heart a voice

The voice of one man has particularly expressed how I feel in some of my hardest moments. He wrote words like these:

“I suffer…terrors; I am helpless
[I am] in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep…
Darkness has become my only companion.”

These words are from an ancient poem, in a large collection of poetic works. Many of the poems, which were written by various authors, have given my thoughts and feelings a voice in countless moments of my life. Some of these poems, like the one quoted above, express some of the worst pain that we can feel. Yet, this book does not only contain dark poems.

There are poems full of hope in this ancient book as well. It was written by people of faith who took hope in the God in whom they believed. They found hope and comfort in their God’s love and in his promises. He promised to be with them in all their hard times, and he promised to do many good things for them, even if they could not understand how he was making good on his promises in the moment. In the hard and dark periods of their lives, they trusted these promises even when they could not see how they were coming to fruition. They believed that all would be set right in the end, as they had seen it be set right in the past. One of the most beautiful ways that their poems put this into words is as follows::

“Weeping may tarry for the night,
But joy comes with the morning.”

I share the faith that these ancient writers had in a good and loving God, so even when I feel surrounded by darkness and caught in a pit of disappointments I believe that love will win out in the end. I will at length see joy come in the morning. In the meantime, I’m thankful for words that help me express my weeping and help to explain what my pain feels like.

Expressing our pain is hard and complicated. Doing it in a wise and healthy way is even harder. Yet, sometimes the words of other people can be very helpful. If you’re looking for a really good source of words of both expression and comfort, I highly recommend the book from which I cited all the about quotes. It is called the book of Psalms (specifically the Psalms in the Bible).

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