Kind promise: I will be tender with weakness.

PaintingIn an online support group for women with health issues, Cindy wrote about going through a period of “pain, fatigue and depression.” “Ahhh, the Great Triumvirate…” Mary responded. We discussed the monster-mind messages that accompany this unfortunate trinity. There is so much in my life for which I should be grateful… Other people handle tough times so much more gracefully than I… I should be better at this by now…

It is when we are at our weakest that the monsters seem loudest.

I am there myself right now. The funeral was Saturday. I wanted to get away from people on Sunday, so I meandered over the bridge along the river in my wheelchair. The river, the birds, the rocks and trees ministered to me and I returned happily sunburned. It’s Tuesday now and I still haven’t recovered, despite the fact that I lazed around yesterday. Enough with the resting! You can’t laze your life away!! (My monsters overuse exclamation points.)

I want to make it mathematical. If I am brought down by pain, fatigue and depression, I should be brought back up by equal amounts of comfort, rest and joy. It should be that simple, yes? In my experience, it’s not.

I set out to paint my weakness this morning. When I chose brushes, I selected the bare handle. I used it to scratch the surface of my painting. Instinctively, I realize that suffering leaves scars. Yes, comfort and rest and joy help me, but I cannot return to where I was. Perhaps, in time, I will recapture my former level of energy and optimism. Perhaps not. Either way is all right.

Healing is not about being flawless. It is about being whole. It is about recognizing that even the discomfort and weariness and clamoring monsters are sacred and miraculous. So, with a tired smile, I let the Great Triumvirate wash over me and join Leonard Cohen in his anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.