Here In Your Pain

7 May

IMG_2814

Years ago I went through a breakup.

I should say, years ago I went through many breakups with the same person, a sort of Groundhog Day nightmare I feel lucky to have made it out of partly intact.

But heartbreak it was.

On one of these occasions I showed up at my friend’s house. I had told her what happened and when I arrived she stood at the door with a notebook.

She handed me a pen.

Would you like to talk? was written on the first page.

I checked the box for NO

Would you like food?

I checked the box for YES

And down the flow chart we went. Without saying a word I communicated what I needed right then. We got food. We were there together.

I don’t know what else we did. But I’ll always remember that flow chart. That notebook. That response.

I’m here.

I’m here in your pain.

In the book Love Warrior, Glennon Doyle says

We think our job as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other’s pain. Maybe that’s why we all feel like failures so often–because we all have the wrong job description for love. What my friends didn’t know about me and I didn’t know about Amma is that people who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People to sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in helpless vigil to our pain.

A couple of months ago my grandfather passed away.

It was sudden and shocking and a very difficult for me. For my family.

The day before my grandfather’s funeral, a friend texted me. “Hey, me and B are coming to the funeral. We’ll watch any young kids so people can be there for the service.”

I didn’t ask them to do this. I didn’t even know they planned on it. They got babysitters for their own kids. They took their personal days off of work for a man they met only briefly.

They did it for me.

After the service I stood with them among wooden blocks and plastic trucks and let some of it out and they listened and they said

No problem

Of course

I’m here in your pain.

I’ve been working on inviting my pain to the table. Witnessing it, if you will.

When I feel something uncomfortable I slow down.

Hello there anger

Sadness

Jealousy

Fear

Shame

Regret

Come on in. Here’s a seat. What kind of tea would you like?

Would you like to talk? Check for YES

I’m here

I’m here in your pain.

(I’ve learned from the best.)

Bookmark and Share

One Response to “Here In Your Pain”

  1. Caroline L May 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm #

    I just wanted you to know that I needed to hear this today! I experienced a particularly sucky end to a two-month dalliance, and have started every conversation with the superstars in my tribe about it apologizing for being angry / upset / confused because it seems like such a trivial pain (I mean, two months!!) in the grand scheme of things to be harping on about.

    But this was a reminder that all pain, no matter how ridiculous the source, is justified. And more than anything – the beauty of it has been how quickly, how wonderfully my tribe supported me in their own little ways – whether it’s through being willing to stay on the phone and listen to my sobs, or bringing home extra treats, or telling me the things I didn’t know I needed to hear.

    Anyway, thank you for the reminder!!

Leave a Reply