Hurt Enough to Heal

Hurt Enough to Heal

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Characters

When a gunman took the lives of 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, CO on March 22, I was in the middle of writing a newsletter article about the shootings of Asian Americans at a series of massage parlors in Atlanta when my phone started blowing up.

The Table Mesa King Sooper’s has been “my” store for the better part of two decades.  I shop there.  My friends shop there.  It is where my kids first got to go somewhere unsupervised with their friends.  Now that my parents also live in Colorado, it was where they shopped too.

Now, the store has been closed for months, first surrounded by a memorial fence and now a construction site with #BoulderStrong signs shielding the day-to-day activity from view.

In moments like this, logic inevitably fails us, but art can sometimes help…

This is the poem I was inspired to write in the wake of the unthinkable.

Hurt enough to heal

There are moments, sometimes,

When my mind is still and my heart open

When, I wonder

Whether any of it

Matters at all

After all.

If, moment to moment,

Any meaning

We might make

Of any of it

Isn’t just

Another hiding place

From feeling

All the feelings

That make us fully alive;

Less likely, maybe

To have to contend

With it all again, again.

But, then

Fuck if I don’t feel

That all this

Waiting, hiding, seeking, striving

Isn’t at odds with

The whole reason for any of it.

That in allowing it all to become familiar and

In numbing ourselves to the next one, and the next after that

We haven’t lost

The best of ourselves.

Haven’t forgotten how to find

That fullness of feeling

That transcends

And enlivens.

Have lost some of our ability to

Welcome warmth,

Share our glory,

Ask for help.

I sit inside

The gaping wound

Of my life

And marvel

At the weight of

All that brought me here;

The many old cuts,

Now, instead, scarred.

I remember the innocent glimmer

Of fresh feeling and know

I see you,

Because I allow myself to be seen.

I hurt alongside you,

Because your ache calls out for comfort.

I feel both the depths and the heights

Only when I welcome them as equals.

So maybe the point

Is that there is no point;

No sense to be made

Of senselessness.

Perhaps the only meaning

To recover

Is the remembering

Of our humanity

Maybe our job

Is just to feel it all

To stop

Praying and protesting

For a moment

So that we can be

All the way human again

Looking pain in the eye

And not armoring up;

Not turning away

But bearing witness to the awful truth of it

And letting ourselves hurt enough to heal.

You can find the original post on my medium page here.

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