As I read stories of child sexual abuse and the like, I struggle to identify with that pain, much like people who’ve never been divorced, for instance, might struggle to identify with mine. Pain becomes a very personal thing.
We all have a suite of pain, yet most of us have had pretty normal lives.
When we’ve no ‘extraordinary’ story to tell, however, our lack of purposeful emptiness presents us with an emptiness nothing can touch. The emptiness of the relatively unscathed, those well-adjusted and functioning adults everywhere in our world, is poignant.
They do not feel special, just perhaps average. Is there anything worse than feeling just average? Like a featureless number? Like someone not worth caring much about?
An Unnamed Pain
This unnamed pain belongs to countless thousands, and, though it’s unparalleled in its commonness, we never feel quite as isolated. Isolation works suchlike: we’re in effused manipulation devoid of the full truth, tricked by ourselves and what we ‘lack’. What we feel, the emptiness of the unscathed, is a central part of the human condition.
We carry this unnamed pain of spiritual disconnection with ourselves and to our world silently; without umbrage. But in solemn moments it grinds away at our minds, paralyses our hearts for feeling, and erodes at our souls.
We receive such pain as a consequence of not having been scarred in a life that scars us all.
What We Never Think To Do
In the normality of life, we never think of what we have as much as what we don’t have. We look at those who are admired for the conquests they’ve made of their lives and our admiration sits astride a knife’s edge—we’re quickly envious. We’d never want their pain, the depth of their affliction they’ve gloriously overcome, yet climbing within us is the feeling of, ‘If only I’d done something so terrific with my life!’
It’s normal to think and feel these ways, particularly in our world of hyper-exposure and media-glam, but knowing this doesn’t seem to help much.
How We Matter To God
One day all that happened to us and all we achieved will have no significance or consequence. One day it will be meaningless. One day there’ll be no comparisons and certainly no envy or inferiority.
We gain great comfort in troubling moments of emptiness to know we matter to God—despite our pasts, or who we are, or what we’ve achieved. Just as we do matter and have mattered, we will always matter to God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.