Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Pain, as a person, comes in and commissions great things of you, but only if you allow him to take his role center-stage and show you what he's got. I imagine he’s the type that likes a fair amount of attention, not because he’s self-centered or because he was a neglected middle child.. no, he simply needs to be acknowledged because when he’s ignored completely, he can’t do his job.

I believe Pain as a person would ask to be dignified before imparting any of his wisdom or perspective, and this could happen one of two ways: a) You resist to the point of exhaustion. Unable to keep up the resistance, Pain enters in storming fashion, crushing your comfortable avoidance. Pain as a person is a strangely recurrent yet transient member of our lives; our defenses never really keep him at bay, because his arrival is not a call to arms. He just waits at the door until we’ve tired and in weakness, finally dropped all weapons.

Not to say that it’s always got to be such a war with this character, because I think there is an alternative- b) You make a conscious and brave decision to honor the reality that Pain has come a’knockin, and recognize that he actually offers a great deal of potential.. you let him in and accept him, make him a cup of tea and sit with him, ask him questions and find out who he is, where he was born, why he’s visiting.. this discussion with him will probably be heavy and revealing, as he tends to be brutally honest when you let him. But a disclaimer about this relationship you may build with Pain: I wouldn’t bother asking him when he plans to leave; to that question he may very well give you the wrong impression, or just remain silent leaving you to your own misguided assumptions. Better to just let him exist with you as a temporary guest for as long as he deems necessary. Another disclaimer: he might trash your house. Did I forget to mention that by profession he is an interior decorator of the most extreme variety? He might come in and throw things upside down, turn the tables, uproot your garden, I mean hell- he might even demolish the foundation of your house.. he doesn’t really hold back once you’ve let him in.

If so, this will feel like a massive violation of space and peace, like a raging hurricane has swept in. But I'll say from my own experiences, when he breaks things it often becomes apparent that they were already broken beneath the surface, or on the verge of breaking anyhow; the walls he tore down had already eroded on the inside. The foundation he shattered turned out to have cracks running through its entirety. The tables he turned were actually facing the wrong way to begin with..

He’s also not great at keeping to preconceived deadlines, confessing things like “Well I know I made you think I would be done and out of here by next month, but you see when I took down that drywall I realized the structure was a lot more compromised than I expected. It’ll be an extra 3 months before I’m finished..” Give him grace though, there’s no way anyone could’ve known what would be found once the walls were torn down, or how long it would take to repair.

Ultimately though, he is one-of-a-kind. Nobody else is in the business as he is, nobody can do the same work.. and though his patterns of demolition appear destructive, be reminded that this is actually the first sign of renovation.

Pain comes because something in your internal or external world has invited him, whether or not you are conscious of it, understand it, or even want it. Whatever the reason though, he has earned your respect, hasn't he? and in the long run, he plays so much more nicely when you give it.