Things that matter often hurt.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t experienced much emotional pain in my twenty-six years on this earth. I’m lucky, spoiled even. I was raised by a caring family who supports me every way they can. My parents are still married and I’ve never attended a family member’s funeral, not even a grandparent’s. I have a husband who I love and who loves me, a modest home that keeps me dry when it rains, and a little girl who loves 90’s pop music as much as I do.
But that little girl didn’t come easily. In March of 2011 we suffered a devastating miscarriage, followed by six painful months of trying to conceive. I know six months doesn’t seem like very long and that many people struggle longer, but there was also speculation that the miscarriage was a result of inadequate hormone levels – meaning that, should we get pregnant again, there was a strong possibility we’d lose that baby too.
We cried, we questioned, we prayed. Really, I could spend hours dissecting that experience, but the only part that matters is the end, because where it took us far outweighs what it took us through. I have never experienced so much pain in my life, so much heartbreak in just eight months. I remember asking Geoff why it hurt so freaking bad. At the time, neither of us knew the answer.
Now we do.
It hurt because it mattered. Time offers perspective, and now I see that hurt sucks, but indifference – a cold, hollow, deafening numbness – sucks so much more. At least if you’re hurting, you’re caring. You’re putting your time, effort and tears into something you know, despite all obstacles, is worth fighting for. And wouldn’t you rather fight than sit on the sidelines picking your nose, waiting for a victory that will never come? Green’s quote reminds me of another quote from one of my favorite novels, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
“It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object.”
If hatred and love are cousins, so too are hurt and joy. Underneath all outward appearances, they are ignited by the same flame, an encouraging reminder that nothing bad lasts forever, because you can’t experience one without soon experiencing the other.
Each moment of hurt, like each moment of writer’s block, leads to something better. Persevere and you will be rewarded – every single time.