The tension is to be loved, apparently

I get it, universe. I get it, God. I get it, life. Practicing gratitude is transformational and something I should really work on.

It’s also hard AF.

I’m in this time of life where I feel so wounded but don’t have time to heal before the next wound hits. It seems that daily, at least weekly, I’m wounded afresh, the same wounds, right when I think I might be able to move into a short bit of rest to recover. I’m bleeding all over every aspect of my life and grasping for anything to patch up the raw, gaping, ragged wounds.

There’s a reason we don’t expect patients to stitch themselves up.

In an attempt to self-remedy, nonetheless, I picked up The Highly-Sensitive Person book. I’m working my way through it again, albeit slowly. (It is freeing and helpful in a way that only therapy has been for me.) I just so happened to turn to a page that emphasized the importance of being grateful for the struggles that tax us. At first I bristled. Then I decided to let the idea percolate in my mind a bit before rejecting it or embracing it.

I started to see the truth in that sentiment, especially for an HSP. Then, two days later, when I was working on some final papers (trying to push through the despair and fog pounding my head into a pulp), one of my favorite songs came on the radio over the coffee shop wifi, from Sixpence None the Richer: “Tension is a Passing Note.” The chorus brought me to full-on snotty tears, in the middle of a crowded coffee shop.

The tension is to be loved
When it is like the passing note
To a beautiful, beautiful chord.

Did I mention the bathroom was occupied so I couldn’t escape to blubber in private? Awesome.

It seems as though this is the time of my life where I am supposed to a). do whatever I can to survive (self-care to the max), and b). practice gratitude for the shitstorm, for the struggle, for the tension. I honestly don’t know whether or not this is a tension that is leading to a “beautiful, beautiful chord” for me. I don’t think life is so certain to make that claim. So far every seeming resolution has only led to more tension and struggle, so frankly I’m feeling a bit skittish and afraid of everything in Hawai’i right now. Change may the only constant, but Heraclitus never said that change would always be for the better.

I don’t know how gratitude can counteract my fear, but perhaps it will add in an element of hope that I’ve lost. Gratefulness helps us identify the good in every situation (whatever slim bit there is), but perhaps when practiced intentionally it also is a repudiation of hopelessness. A rebellion against the hopelessness of the world, the cruelty, the irrationality, the illness that eats and destroys hearts and souls. I don’t have much in me to fight these days (maybe after a 3-week nap), but I can listen to this song over and over, cry and pray and try on statements of gratitude, and maybe that’s enough fight for the moment.

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