"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." - Washington Irving
"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom." - Rumi
Our sadness, our grief - it can be all-consuming sometimes. Loss and suffering reach every person in various ways and with a range of intensities. Do you remember that painful feeling and you thought you couldn’t survive it? That moment when you thought that you couldn’t stand the hurt one moment more?
As we grow up we learn strategies to avoid that kind of pain. Many times we work on creating a shield, or we try to avoid caring, or perhaps even try to hurt others to avoid being a target of suffering. Some approaches work better than others, but I suggest that there is a benefit on the other side of grief that is the payout of the experience.
I believe, as many have through the ages, that when sadness and suffering reach that unbearable intensity there is a process that occurs that is transformative. Like a heavy hammer cracking open the tough shell of a nut, the impact can create an opening in ourselves that gives us a precious opportunity. That opportunity is to feel everything more deeply. It allows us to transform pain and suffering into compassion and love for everyone (including ourselves).
Take a moment today to think about where love and compassion snuck into your life after tragedy or trauma. The greatest hurt gives you the greatest opportunity – are you going to take it?