Dear Pain: Thank You For Teaching Me The Value Of Joy

I’ve felt it all.

The breaking. Like I was finally, eternally down for the count. Like my tired self couldn’t fight on anymore. Like life had finally given me too much pain to bear. As my mind struggles to remember what happiness feels like, I long for the stomach ache that comes from laughing too much. And at times when pain seems like the only company I have, I sit down with it.

Court it. Even fight with it.

And then, slowly, through the pain, I remember what joy feels like.

You know, days when your heart feels lighter than a feather, like the world is coloured with your favourite hues of hope. Like happiness is blossoming at your fingertips, blooming on the hidden, haunted bits of your soul. See, it is often through the pain that we remember joy. That we remember the possibility of ever afters and the new beginnings that lie in the surviving.

See, it is only in the darkness of the night that stars truly shine. That they map constellations, guiding people home. And pain – pain is no different. For just like the dark night and the shining stars, pain and joy go hand in hand.

Joy – the moments of pure, unadulterated happiness – that doesn’t last forever. There will be ups and downs, staggering triumphs and heartbreaking losses. I’ve learned that it often feels like a roller-coaster, one that I don’t remember signing up for. One I always thought I was too short to be allowed on. But it’s a roller-coaster I’ve lived through, time and again. With the highs balancing out the stomach-dropping lows, the lows helping us look forward to the inevitable highs.

Would I have liked, through my tears, to only experience happiness? Yes. To be on a roller-coaster that only goes up? Yes. To ache only from smiling too much? Of course. But then again, would I recognize happiness without the opposite of it? Would I truly value happiness if I had it all the time? And most of all, would I grow from it? With happiness blossoming, all the time, would I truly take root and bloom the way I was always meant to? See, through the breaking, we’re born anew.

So, my love:

Experience the pain,

play with it a little

feel it

explore its every crevice, its body of victims

and then, once you’ve felt it all

once your being has become a mosaic body of it all

rise once again, in joy.