Pain's Long Memory
Pain’s Long Memory
Whether it is the wind slamming the
upstairs door shut, the mother yelling at
her child in Walmart, or the sight of a dead
squirrel on the side of the road, every bump
and cringe of trauma has its way in our bodies,
our hearts. A simple case of spilled coffee
suddenly feels like a Shakespearian tragedy.
Returning to the scene of the crime, our
nerves revisit the last place of true pain,
over and over again, squatting down to
examine the corpse. Those wooden steps
where I sat, crying on the phone with my
best friend, telling her that he might leave me.
Or that bathroom toilet where I bleed her life away
before even getting to see her face. That park
where you disappointed your father. That boat dock
where you slipped and they laughed instead of helping.
That bed. That trip. That movie.
That person. That scent. That sound. When
those memories are pricked, we feel the ripple
and hear the tearing sound of so many dreams
we had for our lives. Do not wonder at this.
Do not be surprised when the fiery trial
surrounds you, when this broken world breaks
you, or when an average day turns into a snowball
of grief, rolling down a hill you didn’t see coming,
The Holy Ghost hovers.
The Father leans in.
The Son sits down
beside us, with holes
in his hands and our ashes
under his feet. The miracle
of the Trinity is not the absence of pain
or an end to these trauma responses. No.
It is the presence of the Holy One we
have come to know as Love, in each
and every moment of our lives.
Cover image by Oscar Keys.