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"The Scream" by Edvard Munch

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COMMUNITY EXPRESSIONS

THE RETURN
Written by
Coleen Wilson

It has been confirmed by the doctors. It has returned. Now I am relearning the pain. So are the others.  

This is where they struggle really lies. It is very hurtful to watch and listen to those who love me most. It is more difficult for them to relearn the pain than it is for me to relearn it. I feel as though I have betrayed them; let them down; caused them more sorrow. Their jubilation trumpeted through every part of their lives for this little while that the pain was gone. Now they are dredging up every ounce of love within themselves to comfort me.  

It is an agonizing process for them. I can only stand in here where I live and watch as they struggle. I overhear things that betray their frustration: "What is it now, I don't understand how it can be back again if the nerve is gone....." "There is always going to be something wrong isn't there? " "I don't know if I can live like this............again."  

Their words push me to my place of Silent Watching. It is here, deep within my spirit, that He reminds me that I must see past their frustration and listen to their hurting instead of my own. He tells me this out of His Great Love for me, and His longsuffering, patient, provoking of my spirit to try to understand as I watch them push through this pain.  

I pray for understanding with tears. I pray to see the pain from their viewpoint. I must grow to this: to feel my pain as it enters their lives once more and forces their lives to become pain filled. I must understand anew as I watch them struggle with the pain that has come to them through me. I pray to God for this insight. My own understanding has been thrown off balance and become distorted by this unexpected onslaught. I pray for a wise and learning heart.  

I know they will not all choose to stay. I have already lost many loved ones because they have chosen against the pain. It was too heavy for them. There will be more now, I fear this: I know this. 

It saddens me that they cannot see I suffer not by my own choice or fabrication. We all have our own land to walk, and this is mine. Their leaving would kill a part of me without His firm words whispering constantly to me that He is with me and He has told me the reason.  

In order to understand this pain from their viewpoint, I pray to see it as they see it and for an empathetic spirit to join them within the specter of their awareness. This is not easily done. It is done necessarily. If I cannot come to grips with their understanding of my pain, I cannot live with them, nor can they abide me. It is too big and too hurtful to survive if I cannot understand my pain from their realm of experience. They cannot partake of my pain. I cannot cut a piece of it and say, "Here, chew on this a while. Taste it, please, and understand what I am about. Learn my limitations, swallow some of my disappointment, digest some of my frustration." I cannot indulge in such selfish melancholy. Such thinking leads me only to the isolation that pain loves throw at me. Such thoughts are destructive. I know. God has taught me. They cannot ingest me pain. There is no need for them to ingest my pain. They are functional to His purpose without knowing this pain as I do. I am functional to His purpose while enduring the pain Victoriously as they watch. And if I attest only to my pain and am blinded to the pain of others, I pray that I stumble and fall.  

Each of us must be open to carry the pain of others around us. For though my pain is great, it does not minimize the pain of any other person. It is mine, to learn from, to strengthen me, to be my schoolmaster for a while longer. So it must be. And so it is.

NOTE from Coleen:  This was written in 1991. My family has lived with this pain for nearly 27years, and still, they love and hasten to protect me.  I have always watched them in wonder and learned much from them about patience, steadfast love, and reaching for that bit of strength that seems just out of bounds. I have seen them reach until they grab onto that strength that eludes me sometimes, and I have learned from them that I can reach farther than I ever thought I could.  They have taught me so much.  They have suffered so much along the way.  And so we have learned together.
 

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