Monday, February 7, 2011

The Strongest Souls

"Pain breaks the shell that encloses our understanding." - Kahlil Gibran


We have been through a record-breaking winter in Connecticut. Snow falls and falls and has rarely stopped. Locals tell us they've never seen a winter like it before, and I believe them as I see news reports of roof rakes selling out before a shipment even arrives and images of collapsed roofs play on the television screen nightly. Connecticut building codes were not made for this amount of snow.

It has been a harsh and difficult winter. And has been the most beautiful winter I have ever seen here as well. Our snow usually melts for long periods between storms. So most of the winter is brown and dead until another storm comes in and coats the earth in a sheet of sparkling snow. It is magical, but then it melts and we're back to the bare ugliness of winter. This winter there has been no brown, dead earth exposed. There is always a glittering sheet of white. It has been scary at times, but always stunning. I have found myself driving through my wooded streets, with my mouth wide open at the beauty of this unrelenting winter.

In all of life, I think symbolically and philosophically, and this winter has reminded me of my own life. I ran across the Gibron quote above and it fit with my thoughts of this winter and of my own struggles. We must go through harshness, pain, and difficulty to get to the stunning beauty of understanding.

I have seen this over and over in my life. Pain and sometimes unbearable heartache has given me an understanding that I wouldn't trade for anything. Yet with all that I've been through and all of the wisdom that has come from everything, I still struggle to get through each new hurdle. I easily become overwhelmed and my first response to any major difficulty is initially a feeling of I give up! I'm am too weak to endure anymore and I can't overcome another obstacle. Sometimes I am so emotionally overwhelmed that I shut down and have to push my obstacle to the side for a time. Sometimes I engage in numbing activities, just so I don't have to think about it. I wish I could say that I'm always courageous and strong when faced with such things, but I am weak still. Even when I know what direction I need to go and what must be done, I still sometimes must push the problem from my mind for awhile as I psychologically try to survive so that I can be a present mom to my four kids and get the necessities of life accomplished. It is a hard thing to admit, especially since I know from hard-earned experience that I have gained amazing depths of understanding and growth from enduring and dealing with incredibly painful experiences.

And so this is where I am. I am at a crossroads. I have known that I must make my abuser legally responsible for the deep-seeded damage he has done to my mind and to my spirit. Criminally or civilly, he needs to be held accountable, and since he's never come forward to take responsibility on his own, the issue must be forced by me. I have avoided thinking about it too much over the holidays. I've understandably pushed the issue aside to enjoy the holidays with my family, but I know I have also just been avoiding the problem. Now is the time and I must make myself strong to endure and come out the other side with a richness to my life that was never before known.

"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." - Khalil Gibran