Saturday, February 06, 2010

on romanticizing pain

I'm writing for a new album, and I've been reaching for some of those songs that capture the ache we've all felt. I love the way one line from a song or one scene from a movie can shatter a perfect day, precisely because it hits the spot.

This prompted a great conversation last night that I'm still spinning around in my head: Pain is unavoidable and natural, so how do you know when you've crossed the line from a healthy processing of pain into a detrimental indulging of it?

Everything in me begs, "I waaaant to feel that pain." But do those aching moments in art spin us into a place where we gorge ourselves on navel-gazing and pain-reveling, like a teenager bent on cutting herself? Do we romanticize the notion so much that we actually become more self-centered people who are now even further from healing than when we started?

If believers have eternal hope and fullness of joy available to us even in the midst of our pain, what's our responsibility to our hearts, minds, and spirits in light of such great redemption?

Is indulging our pain just a healthy part of the process? Or does it delay the process?

How do you feel about this?


Blasé said...

Darned if you do, darned if you don't!

Christine said...

I can see what you're saying, and there's definitely a line. But I also think that maybe that's just how artistic people process something like pain. Maybe artistic people have to process it differently than others.

Christine said...

By the way, the word verification I just had to enter was "pallisms" and I think you should make up a definition for it.

mike said...

That reminds me of something I read either in A Severe Mercy or A Grief Observed, I don't remember which. But ya, basically how part of the grief process is moving past the grief, even though you don't want to because the grief is the last connection you have to the person you lost.

Lindsay said...

It's like that song I started to write in NYC, but never finished. I don't know if I truly captured what I was going for, but the idea of clinging to something painful because it's better than nothing was definitely my impetus for the text:
I've got a hole in my pocket, hidden where no one can see, but I know it's there and I like it, because of you it reminds me.
So I will leave it,
and wait for the loss,
leave it- I don't mind the cost. Though my heart may fall to the ground, having something is better than nothing I've found.


Kelly said...

My Uncle's signature on his email, even throughout his 2 tours in Iraq reads "Pain is inevitable...Suffering is optional." I learned this through the death of the most serious bf I ever had at the age of 27 died suddenly in a car accident. I felt overwhelming pain,and let myself suffer the next 3 years. Now I still feel some pain from losing him,but by the grace of God my suffering has ended. I believe the distinction is between the pain which is inevitable and the suffering, which is optional.