Last night, I was flicking through my diary and came across some of the quotations I had scribbled down when I was reading Intimate Death: How the dying teach us to live. They are all such beautiful quotes, but there is one that I will share. It is as below. I have changed the word dying to the word suffering and bolded it where this change occurs:
“Where is Louis to be encountered anymore if not in the rustle of emotions? What meaning can his life have now that he is no longer able to read or express a coherent thought? Some people say that a life that no longer permits one to be true to oneself is hardly a life worth living. They dwell on the loss of dignity. What they forget is the unsuspected resources that still lie unawakened in the depths of one’s being, the treasure one has never minded because on has had others to draw on – an entire interior life, intimate, emotional, spiritual. There is much to learn, in someone’s suffering, from these neglected registers of our deepest selves. And perhaps there is much we can teach when we ourselves suffer.
I am very much conscious of how much I am given and how much I keep learning from those who can no longer do anything except be there – from those who gaze, or their dignity in allowing themselves to be cared for. They have taught me simplicity, and humanity.”
It is often a natural instinct that when we are hurting we curl up into a ball, to protect ourselves. It’s not just a human instinct, but animals do it too. Hedgehogs, and porcupines too, to mention a few. Sometimes they form this shape even before the pain / hurt kicks in at the moment when they sense danger. It’s the shape we had assumed during the embryonic stage. That point in our lives when we are protected and do not need to worry about anything. We are fed, we are kept warm, we are breathed for. And then the second we enter the world, we have to do it all on our own, even the most basic of things, like breathing, and looking out for things and recognising. And each day we learn more and more about how do it for ourselves. Maybe that’s why we do it, because we yearn to be in that place again, protected, secure.
When our hard shells crack, two things can come out, the darkness or as the quote above says, the light; the beauty, the things we never noticed. Holes through a wall show you what’s on the other side, which may otherwise be hidden. So smile, though you may hurt, and let the world see your light, because it is truly dazzling. Because, beneath you’re beautiful. And you have just so much to give.