Emotional pain is something that all of us experience at some point in our lives, and pain’s lessons are also lessons we hope to avoid at all costs. However, pain in life is inevitable. We can choose to take what happens to us, learn from it, and move on, or we can allow it to consume us and limit our growth in life. When I am not being the literary extraordinaire that I am, my time is spent at my day job interacting with people with the worst kind of physical pain, but after spending time with them you realize that the pain is much deeper. There is the middle-aged man going through a nasty divorce, the woman that just lost her brother to cancer, and even the elderly woman that had to leave her husband because she caught him “Watchin the porn.” Each one pouring out their grievances and heartbreak to anyone that will listen.
Just a few weeks ago, there was a kind elderly gentleman that I encountered who had been living with significant physical pain for years. We’ll call him Al. Al’s health was declining and he had no family to speak of except for a small dog that kept him company. While conversing with him, the man spoke with me about his life and everything that had led him to this point. He had been married twice, widowed the second time. The first marriage lasted over twenty years, and for him that was too long, but when he spoke to me about his second wife, “the love of his life”, his face lit up instantly. He spoke about her with such fondness and I was heartbroken to learn that they had only been married for ten months. How cruel was life? To finally meet the love of your life and only have them for ten months. But as he continued to talk, he didn’t feel sorry for himself. Even with all of the pain he had experienced in his life, he had released so much of it through building homes and making things. “When things would get tough, I’d get busy”, he said, and I couldn’t have been more inspired. He was happy, and believed deeply that life had treated him with kindness, giving him the greatest gift, his second wife.
When I decided to write my first novel it was a dark time in my life. I’m not sure if anyone else knew because I carried my pain so close, but I knew that it was building and I had to find some way out of the darkness. Writing came naturally to me so I started writing again, then painting, then I started to dream, imagine, and set goals. Through being creative I was able to release and work through my pain. As I laid the ground work for my first novel, I realized that I was not only telling my story, but I was telling the story of countless others currently suffering through pain. That is the great power of creativity, freedom. Freedom can not only move emotions, but resuscitate broken spirits, and ultimately change lives.
When we look at history’s greatest pieces of art, music, movies, and books so many were created because someone was pained. Whether it was from love unrequited, death of a loved one, or disgust with the society in which they lived, these artists channeled their pain into something remarkable. Even Al’s story, though brief, changed my life because it changed how I viewed happiness. It changed how I viewed love. If you are creative in any way, shape or form allow your pain to be released, and create something beautiful, moving, and life changing.