This year marked the anniversary of a tragedy I experienced 20 years ago. To say that I am a completely different person because the tragedy happened or that I am a completely different person simply because 20 years have passed is unclear for me. In spite of my inability to understand the reason why I am a completely different person, I can pretty much sum up that I am wiser and a lot of the pain has healed, but that nothing has really changed.
How is it possible to condense a 20 year gap between tragedy and wisdom? I believe it’s because nothing really changes. The sun still rises every morning, the seasons continue to change, people die and babies are born daily and life continues. The wise, King Solomon, from the holy book, stated that “nothing is new under the sun,” and that statement was said more than 2000 years ago and still rings true for today.
Of course, technology has changed, education and school systems have changed, governments change and politicians change their minds and continue to fail us,; these are all external things that man has changed, but the cycle of life has not changed in millennia.
When I reflect on the past 20 years, I see how I have matured, understood and gained knowledge, but deep down, I am still the tender hearted girl, that hurt when my father died when I was 9 years old, when my mother died when I was 27 years old and when my son’s good friend Cliffy died, when he was only 16 years of age, and I was 37 years old. I was there, I held Cliffy in my arms when he had the accident and then said good-bye to him a few days later. That was 20 years ago, and it hurt. It still hurts when I think about the tragedy. But when I think about how much I now understand, because of that tragedy, and many more tragedies since, I realize that I still hurt, but with less intensity, fewer tears and I recover much more quickly, as each year passes.
Have you been through a tragedy that still makes you feel sad? At the time of the tragedy, of course there is only pain, sorrow and “what if’s”, but with time I have woken up to the fact that tragedy can turn to triumph. It’s taken a long time. I have watched my son, who was Cliffy’s best friend, go through pain, trying to squash the pain, try to deny the pain, try to obliterate the pain, try to fight the pain but to no avail, until acceptance was reached, and then the pain fades but it doesn’t go away and it shouldn’t – it stays so that we can be reminded of how much we have to be grateful for, how much we still love and how much living there is to do.
I have quietly watched Cliffy’s family from a distance, go through more pain due to illness and other life stuff, and I have seen courage and acceptance but still the pain…
Pain fades, it becomes greyed out in the busyness of life, but easily takes on the technicolour enhancement, when we think about it. Transcending pain means not pushing it away, but acknowledging it and admitting it. That’s the only way healing happens.
I heard a great quote yesterday “In order to clean the house, you have to be able to see the dirt.” I love that! Pushing the dirt under the carpet is not cleaning it, it’s just avoiding it.
Nothing is new, it’s all just the same wise, wonderful and simple ways – to heal we must acknowledge what is ailing us, get it out into the open, and then allow time to work it’s magic and that is called wisdom!
Tragedy does not hand-select people – we all have to endure pain – But with wisdom we carry on, knowing that with time, great healing will happen. It just does! That never changes.