Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thursday Thoughts # 28

From one of the Harry Dresden stories:

"Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it. 
Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it. Pain is a part of life. 
Sometimes it’s a big part, sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. 
Pain does two things: it teaches you; tells you that you’re alive. 
Then it passes away and leaves you changed. 
Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you is going to involve it in one degree or another."

He has a point.  Pain is often a necessary part of growing up. And living. No one goes through life without pain.

Disappointments or sorrows so keen they feel like actual physical pain. 
The painful tightening of the chest with grief, the tensing of the muscles when holding back tears or anger, you all know these feelings I'm sure.  
They can be hard to bear, since there is no specific time limit, we don't know how long it will take before we begin to feel better.
Physical pain from illness or accident can be easier to manage as you know it will pass, a cut will heal, a broken leg will mend.

But what of those who are numb to pain?  Their brains so deadened they no longer feel emotions? 
Shuffling through life like zombies, empty eyes, empty faces, barely responding to others. 
Not physically dead, yet their souls are dead, or so close to it. How does pain benefit a person who can't feel it? These are the saddest people of all, because they can't be helped. 

Think about it. 

You see a person in pain, physical pain, and you rush to help. You offer water, bandaids, an ambulance perhaps. You've helped and this physical pain will soon pass.

A person in emotional pain may need someone to listen, not necessarily to offer advice, but just be there to take some of the weight of the grief or anger or despair. A shoulder to cry on with bottomless boxes of tissues to mop up those tears, a cup of tea, a warm hug.
Helping people in this manner makes us feel better about ourselves and can even alleviate some of our own pain if we have been feeling similar emotions to those we see in the people we are helping. 

Pain shared is pain halved, as the saying goes. 

But how do you help someone who is so far gone they no longer feel? are no longer able to reach out?  Those who can't say "hold me", those who can't phone a friend or a lifeline? 
Someone who doesn't even realise that help is available if only they knew how to ask or even that they should ask? 

What can we do when seeing these people causes us to feel the pain of being unable to help in any way? 
Some might say "pray for them", but praying only helps us, because we've done something or tried to, but it does not help those so emotionally wounded they are beyond help.


  1. I do believe prayer helps those who are in pain. When I was at my darkest moments, I was thankful to know others were praying for me when I couldn't. God hears our prayers and knows what that hurting person is going through.

  2. An unanswerable question I fear.

  3. Brings up many memories of times when both types of pain ran through me. Excellent post.

  4. An excellent post. Reach out? And continue to reach out? I wish I knew.

  5. Very good post, River.

    So often it's difficult to see what is invisible; and for that we can't blame ourselves.

    Being sensitive to others and their emotional pain is one thing; but if they don't want our help and push us away - we can be at a loss in what to do. We're then in that fathomless area...between a rock and hard place.

  6. Deep thoughts. I do not know how to restart any one.

  7. Terri Tiffany; fair enough if your darkest moments are not permanent and you know others are praying for you.

    fishducky; it provoked a few thoughts in myself too, I don't know what pocket of my mind that came from.

    Delores; quite possibly, but we should keep trying.

    Susan Kane; I'm sorry to hear you've had those types of pain although no altogether surprised. i hope those days are past for you now.

    Elephant's Child; keeping on reaching out is probably the only thing to do and hope that one day we might make a difference.

    Lee; those who push us away are still aware enough to maybe get through to, one day, maybe...if we just keep trying. Those who don't push us away, who aren't aware they are so far gone, they are the ones I worry about.

    Joanne; deep thoughts indeed, where did they come from? my mind just spews stuff out sometimes. As for restarting anyone, first they have to be aware enough that restarting is even possible and on some level, even an unconscious level, they have to want to be restarted.

  8. Heartfelt words, River. And difficult. There is no, one answer. It runs so deep and the scars won't heal easily.
    We are all individuals. So many of us have felt deep pain... and have gone beyond it to numbness. And have dwelt in the abyss. There are those who have gone so far down into the void, they can't seem to (or even want to) find a way out.
    Words which might help one, may not work with another.

    A real, proper hug with whispered words of comfort and support can go a long way - even if they are not taken on board straight away. Some need time. I did.
    And in that time, continuing offers of support and loving hugs can dissolve some of the emotional defences that have been built to avoid pain.

    Sometimes, coming back and feeling pain, is the first step...
    But, it takes time, and patience.

    Like so many, I wish I had the answer. But I don't. And it can make the heart hurt.

  9. Vicki; all true words and I'm sorry to hear you've been there. Perhaps one day an answer will be found.