MESS-age…cream in pain!

Can there possibly be “cream” in something as unpleasant as pain? I can understand that almost all human beings, at least in their stage of early adulthood, may have had their own fair share of both the rosy and the rough sides of life (the sweet and the sour). Yet, this does not validate the thought of sweetness being encapsulated in bitterness. No doubt; people love the good side of life. The question, however, would be how humans respond to the sharp, painful arrows that life shoots at us. For some (or perhaps, many), they cherish the ‘junk’ of their pains so much that they refuse to sanitize the corners of their hearts for some fresh air. Wherever they go, it doesn’t take long for observers’ olfactory senses to pick the smell of their garbage. Hence, the big question (from the title): what’s your mess-age…how old is stench of your ‘mess’?

Speaking hypothetically, an old friend once said that the average person has attuned his heart to a state of ‘perpetual winter’, even when they’re geographically not in cold season. In his words, people are just as cold as the prevalent weather in Alaska. You give a friendly poke to a person but get several balls of ice fall on your head in return. According to him, our world has become filled with dead heads, (sorry! I’m sure he meant…) frozen hearts; walking around, looking for what’s really not lost. In my view, that seemed pretty much hyperbolic…until I grew a little more.

The PARADIGM
Whether we’re good or not-so-good people, bad things happen around us and to us. Yet, in such a pretentious generation as ours, we’ve become well schooled in the art of wearing masks to hide what we feel. At times, though, we find that it’s easier to simply be human. So we let out the pain we feel inside; howbeit with no perceptible tears on the outside. This culture of concealing pain has become the order of our lives. Does pain really disappear after holding it in for long, or could it just be lurking in a corner…an impending time bomb? Just how far can all this really take us?

A psychology-based dictionary defines depression as “a state of mind producing serious, long-term lowering of enjoyment of life or inability to visualize a happy future”. A second definition would be “a period of unhappiness or low morale which lasts longer than several weeks and may sometimes include ideation of self-inflicted injury or suicide”. Most of the sicknesses that kill people in the world today, by reliable statistics, have been said to have their roots in depression.

The ISSUE
Someone says or does something that really gets to you. You’re offended, and you know it! Yet, being conscious of the sham image of strength (which really is pseudo-maturity) being paraded by society, you try to fake what you feel. In fact, many have come to misinterpret King Solomon’s thoughts about how a fool’s wrath is presently known while a prudent man covers shame (Proverbs 12:16). Isn’t this a classic case of the manner of bearing one’s heart in truth, rather than hiding the same toxic thoughts that eat away at the core of the one in pain? What does it really mean to make peace, whether you’re the offender or the offended? Is it about being silent in the name of being emotionally mature or socially prudent? This could be food for thought!

Needless to mention, offences come in various forms through different sources. Terrible words spoken from the lips of hurting parents or guardians, unrealized yield from some agreement (business, etc), unsolicited criticisms from random people, to mention but a few. If we can take the time, in the midst of our tears, to draw out separate layers of thought that constitute the big chunk of our pain; we’ll be setting ourselves right on the path of permanent healing. Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists have long been burdened with the responsibility of “analyzing” and “fixing” a problem which they not only didn’t create, but sometimes gets exacerbated to a point of no remedy. Some of the time, depending on how complex certain cases may be, they almost engage in analysis-to-paralysis!

Virtually all the lines in SEAL’s song, Prayer For The Dying, point at the potency of destructive behaviour; whether in form of oral or physical violence. “Fearless people, careless needle, harsh words spoken and lives are broken”. As he goes further to report the cases of forceful aging (losing taste for life’s sweet juice altogether), he draws right into the heavy chorus:
“Crossing that bridge with lessons I’ve learned; Playing with fire and not getting burned; I may not know what you’re going through but Time is the Space between me and you…life carries on”.

Time? The space that exists between two hearts? I’ve observed how people try to shy away from the truth that stares them right in the face. Little do we realize about how strong the promise of strength holds if we dare to stare at the pain long enough to knock off the surface and derive the honey therein. That’s the essence of the title of this piece; drawing out the Cream within our Pain.

The RESOLVE
I love to refer to the innocence in the heart and eyes of a sweet little child. Michael Jackson implored us in his song, Heal The World, to stop existing and start living. He doesn’t mince words over the concept of pouring undiluted love into tender hearts (symbolic of children). However, inside everybody is the little child that was either abused or celebrated. Researchers have found. Little wonder he concludes the matter by saying: “make a little space, make a better place; heal the world”. The world can only find healing when even the most mature and ‘macho’ minds assume the role of little children OR simply receive the unconditional love that children crave. I strongly believe that, regardless of how much anyone has been through in life, “LOVE IS THE ANSWER, it’s written on Angels’ Wings” (WestLife).

Joyce Meyer says, over and again, that “hurting people hurt others”. We need to realize that people who are hurting and haven’t found healing can spend their lifetime covering up with things (ephemeral items). When it comes to relating with others, however, their pain oozes like thick smoke (or noisome fart). Howsoever long they struggle to “behave” themselves, the insalubrious part of them shows up and is difficult to rid. It really won’t matter, at such a time, how they treat you. Your place is not to castigate them, like the judge who always feels the need to fart. Rather, your proof of inner strength is to give unconditional care to people in pain, whether or not they’re well behaved toward you.

If they yet reject your outstretched arm of benevolence, please be quiet and don’t spread dirty talk about them; lest you become dirty, yourself. People have different threshold limits for which they can accept a concept that’s alien to them. Remember, hurting people will always hurt others and not even know it. So, it’s best to ensure that YOU (of all people) have found sufficient healing in yourself, enough to help others ease their pain. After all, you really can’t give what you don’t have. The coded message in all of this sermon is this:
When emotional health is restored in people, psychological and physical strength will flow endlessly. You won’t need to beg people to SPEND QUALITY TIME with their families, BE THE BEST on their jobs and ultimately CONTRIBUTE SELFLESSLY to Society and the Economy. That’s the essence of the message; Heal The World. Emotion is the core of humanity.

★This article is an excerpt from APOLOGETIX, a psycho-analytical adaptation of Nature’s Cardinals©; intellectual property of Green Tempers Initiative®, of which Damilola MacGregor is a Registered Trustee.

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