When I first moved to the Chicago area in late 1987, I hadn't yet been divorced two years. I was still pretty raw and had built a fairly solid wall around my heart. As I look back, I wonder whether that wall didn't also have some jagged and sharp broken glass along its top? One of my work colleagues told me several years later that he could see how much pain I was in. And I thought I was hiding it!
I wonder how many people I hurt because of my own pain? I'll never know. And it doesn't pay to spend time wondering all these years later. Thinking about it makes me aware of the truth of something else Paula D'Arcy said in her retreat presentation at the Siena Center in Racine, Wis., last weekend. She credits her friend Richard Rohr, a Franciscan and also founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, with this thought: "Pain that is not transformed will be transmitted."
I know the truth of that from both sides of the coin—as one who has transmitted my pain out to others and also as one who has felt the toxicity of someone else's untransformed pain.
To have your pain transformed, you need to first acknowledge it. Face it, deal with it, ask for help in your healing process and see what lessons the pain might have for your life. Because D'Arcy faced her grief when her husband and young daughter were killed by a drunk drive, and because she received love and help from others, her pain has been transformed to the point where she is a beacon to the rest of us as we face our own hurts and pain.
Please contact me if you would like to work through an issue or heal from some pain in your life.