06 June 2011

Time To Grow Up: Addendum #1

Having had some time to meditate on my post of Sunday, I realize I may have left the impression that the life-altering events that shaped my transition to 'growing up' were all of a negative or traumatic nature.  While it is true that a lot of powerful and heart-breaking things did happen, it is also true that good, great things happened.  First and foremost among those was the birth of my darling Wee Lass.  There may be some close seconds, but that she came into this world is the first on the list of Great Things What Happened To Gumbo.

I bring this up because events of great joy, like those of great trauma, also take a certain level of maturity to fully process and enjoy.  It is certainly easier if it is something happy, because those happy things don't hurt.  But to fully internalize the joy, to really appreciate it, takes a certain amount experience because experience gives us a way to compare and contrast what we we feel in the present with what we have felt in the past.  It helps one to truly understand what matters.

When I was younger, nice things could happen and I could be happy along with them, but perhaps I was too casual about joy.  Because our parents worked to protect us from petty slights and from the worst the universe could serve up, sometimes it was difficult to understand that joy, like pain, is transient.  Enjoyed or endured, they pass.

Once I had the "benefit" of experience*, though, I wrapped my head around the bittersweet.  I learned to temper my joy with a memory of the pain, and vice versa.  It sounds weird; after all, who really wants to be reminded of hurt and trauma?  I was afraid of that at first.  However, as I have practiced it, I find that the joys have gotten better, and the pains easier to endure.  Things balance themselves.

Understanding that, I think, is a key component of growing up.

*I once told myself, in the midst of some of the worst pain I ever experienced upon the deaths of my first two children in 2003, that if knowing pain is in some guise what it means to be wise, I'd much prefer to remain a fool.  While I would never deliberately go back to a situation like for the sake of learning something, I do have a greater appreciation for what I learned.


  1. Join me in finding some joy?

  2. this also is a passage for channeling our writing for those who need to get back in tough with their pain, a sacrifice of sorts...some cultures believe in feasting at the foot of their deceased, celebrating in physical and spiritual when eating at their altars, some even burn money for their afterlife...I believe I do this when I write about them and my feelings of pain and joy...it is an amazing moment when it translates, we may not think it matters, but it does...

  3. Last I needed reminding of this very thing so I watched the film "Fierce Grace" about Ram Dass' stroke and his life. Getting into the Hare Krishna bits is a stretch for me, but the man and his life's work is a portal for those of us who wish to enter and experience fully this melodrama we call life. I highly recommend the film -- it uplifts me tremendously.

  4. Sup Gumbo,
    I wish to be the fool at times myself. I just don't want to know or feel. Yet, by finding people like yourself, I know I'm not alone, and get a lot out of the relationships I have in my life.
    By the way. I don't want to grow up. I'm a Toys r Us kid. And always will be.

    The Cheeky Daddy

  5. It's all about contrast.

    I agree w/ Tara - that's a great film.

  6. Blessings...in your writing and in your ability to work through the paths of living...your words help all to grow and mature...and that is a beauty that has blossomed from your pain...thank you...bkm

  7. Congratulations on making it as a Blog of Note! You're a gifted writer!

  8. Yes, fantastic sir, I agree with the above. I do so agree with your views as well. Your strength, and the wisdom you have shared. I've just recently began writing myself, and I haven't found a single "blog of note" that was actually about something relevant until now. Fantastic.

  9. A therapist friend of mine once said, "Life is full of all kinds of pain, and all kinds of joy." So simple but so true, and I think that it's when we think otherwise, that's when we get in trouble.

  10. I totally feel you on your last statement about gaining wisdom through feeling pain. While I would never go willingly back to when my little brother died, I have learned so much about life and myself through this experience. It's difficult at times, because I think I wouldn't trade what I know now for anything in the world and sometimes I think yes I would.

  11. what a nice word you wrote..awesome..
    btw,i've followed you..
    so hit me back ok ^^

  12. Nice read!!!

    Lola x (London)


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