Olives for Hope

If the world is ever going to come to peace,
humanity can no longer be recognized 
on a case by case basis.

Reflections

Precious Pain

Posted on December 18, 2011 at 9:00 PM

I was reminded again tonight why the situation here is so complicated. I know, and I really believe this, that humanity has a soul, that love does win. But how do you convince someone that has been so hurt by that same humanity? We are all victims to one degree or another, but I can’t compare my pain to another’s. We all have different stories. Some are very raw, some are silly but all are real. And here it goes beyond any one individual’s pain – it is collective pain, collective grief.


Everybody's got a hunger * No matter where they are

Everybody clings to their own fear * Everybody hides some scar

 

Until we figure out how to help both peoples living in the land of Canaan to heal their pain. I fear the picture will only get uglier. We need to forget about “teaching” democracy or even economic development. The first step has to be to stop comparing pain and suffering. Does it really help to continue revisiting old wounds? But everyone here is always going backwards. How can you ever create a new future when the ugly past has so much power? Remembering has its place, but only as a means to assure “never again” for all humanity.


Everybody's got a reason * To abandon their plan

How can I think of tomorrow * With my sorrow in hand


However, letting go will not ever happen as long as there seems to be value in holding on to the pain. What value is there in holding on to pain? First, it connects us to others that have that shared memory as well. It creates a community of mourners and there is power in that. If I am otherwise powerless, my righteous pain is a shield. As long as I can use it to say “look how bad they are – look what they did to us!”, I can hold myself above them. Second, that pain informs me of who I am. It creates identity and I can feel safe in knowing I am not like them. But we are more than our pain – we have to be.


Precious pain * Empty and cold but it keeps me alive

I gave it my soul so that I could survive * Keeping me safe in these chains * Precious pain


I was speaking with a friend here in Palestine. He told me a little of what his people had suffered, and what he had personally suffered (torture in an Israeli prison). I know there is much more he did not say. I can’t tell him to let go of that pain. He said “You can’t ask me to forgive” and he is right. I can only hope that one day he will understand the letting go is for him and not for them. I honestly hurt for him, and for everyone here that has suffered and continues to suffer. But I also hurt for the lost possible future as people choose to stay in the past. The struggle to be free is meaningless unless it begins with freeing oneself of the chains of pain. Otherwise, regardless of what happens in the physical world, without letting go, you remain a captive. I can’t tell a starving man not to hunger. But maybe, just maybe, I can help him find the fruit waiting to be picked.


Precious Pain ~ M.Etheridge

 


Categories: POV