A talented NWCASA client provides multiple examples of love.
- Trauma creates opportunities for growth. When I suffer flashbacks, I want to curl up into a ball and disappear. Shrink from life. Today, rather than panic, I give myself permission to curl up into a ball, to become, for a moment, an object. And I do. I curl up into a ball, and I become, for a moment, an object. And I survive. I manage pain and soothe myself when nothing but surviving will do. I stay alive.
- When I sense a friend is in pain, I place my pain beside their pain. I listen to them speak of their pain, through their pain, and in my listening, although I say nothing, I speak to their pain. I witness suffering, and I am humbled. Everyone suffers in their own way, but no one suffers alone. Pain, I’ve learned, is a great teacher, but I’m not a student of pain. I major in love. I minor in poetry.
- Everything is connected, including the idea that everything is connected. Even falling to pieces is connected. When a friend falls apart, when their life breaks open and their hope shatters, their falling to pieces happens in the same space where I once fell apart, too. Our coming apart, individually, comes together in the same space. Friends recognize the enemies within us all: a lack of love, a lack of patience. I befriend a process of trauma and recovery. I give myself over to grace. I hope for more hope.
- Trauma exists, but so does love. Love itself can feel traumatic to those of us who feel unworthy of love, but when we feel unworthy of love, we are mistaken. When I curl up into a ball, because I am ashamed, or I am frightened, or I am lonely, I catch myself. I give myself permission to experience pain. When I suffer flashbacks, I long to be held, and I hold myself. I breathe again, and I breathe again. Again, I love, and I am loved, again. Another day alive. More opportunities to grow.