I’ve learned to look at people without a haze of judgment, analyzing them in a raw moment. Who is this person? I’ve noticed life starts to mark our most common expressions of emotion like a tattoo on our face. I always look at someone’s face for a glimpse at a chapter of their story. I remember seeing my father for the first time in 2 years, a reunion holding so many complex emotions. I still saw my father in his eyes, but his once full head of dark pepper, was overtaken by silver salt. Standing before me was a man in pain.
Life is cruel in the sense of teaching us our most valuable lessons in the most macabre of ways. I remember the feeling of going to my childhood home in the winter of 2011, scrounging to save any memory of my mother from someone who wanted to pretend as though her life had never existed. I remember all of the nights calling my father’s phone for it to go just to voicemail, just so I could hear his voice one more time. I remember the gut wrenching pain I felt, often gasping for air. I’d cry out in pain, asking the universe to answer my pleas of desperation. The universe always replied with silence.
Looking at my father in that moment- with his hair of salt and a little bit of pepper, I felt anger and sadness all in one. I was betrayed by my own father. I wanted to scream. In that instance of betrayal, I reflected back to the nights I felt like the universe was a black hole- swallowing up every plea to ease the pain. How did this man feel in his darkest moments of pain? A 30 year friendship and soul-mate lost far too soon, to the cold fate of death. Tears of grief overtook me, not for myself, but for my father.
Pain is a process. You can hold on to pain, becoming its victim by letting it swallow you whole and taint your view of the world. Accepting pain is looking at the ruins from the storm all around you, taking the time to clean up the ruins, and building something new to weather any future storms. Pain has taught me perspective is key to finding any solution. Pain has strengthened me, to lead a life full of intention- ignoring all the irrelevant details that distract you from reality. Pain has numbed me, to choose my battles wisely; trust and love is ingrained in our most peaceful interactions.
Pain, the most important lesson I was ever thrown into- I am forever thankful for. In moments of pain, my voice was often weak. I looked for comfort and strength in the voices of others in those moments mine felt weak. When those voices of comfort were nowhere to be found- it was as though my voice was completely lost. When I cried out in pain and frustration for my lost voice, it was only in that moment I understood just how loud my voice could really be.