“God, it hurts to be human…
Like we’re walking down a road of broken glass …”
The purpose of life has been the subject of many animated conversations I have had over the years. Contemplating our short-lived existence on this tiny planet in a vast universe is a daunting task. All of us carry a sense of self and identity based on our diverse history, context, and background that acts as a frame to hold the many stories from which we derive meaning.
When we take time to reflect on this frame and our diverse narratives, we may discover a peculiarity that we all hold in common – a pattern that is noticeable from the time we are thrust into this world from the safety and nurture of our mothers’ wombs: the pattern of pain. None of us can escape it.
It simply hurts to be human.
Depending on the culture we grew up in, this collective human malady is not always acknowledged or considered as something we need to learn to live with. Societies that run on capitalist fantasies (often disguised in political and religious jargon) may find this human hurt bothersome to the relentless pursuit of wealth, power, and status. Reminders of our eventual demise and suffering dampen the fables we tell ourselves about control and safety. So we conveniently tuck those who are suffering from view or create labels and diagnosis in a vain attempt to pretend that their pain is somehow the consequence of their life choices. It is confronting to think that human pain is something that affects all of us – and therefore our pain connects all of us.
The recognition that our collective human pain is something we share creates other problems. We can no longer justify the scapegoating of ‘the other’ as a way of absconding from our responsibility and care of humanity (and the care of our planet). Human beings can no longer serve as political or religious pawns in our quests for power and comfort. The suffering of sentient beings and the pillaging of our earth can no longer be ignored.
To acknowledge our pain means to SEE the other.
To acknowledge our pain also means that we can SEE ourselves from a different perspective. We became increasingly aware of the skills and resilience needed to simply live life. You have negotiated many events and seasons in your life, and here you are, reading this blog.
When was the last time you celebrated your Life Negotiation skills?
When was the last time that you acknowledged your many super-powers that help resist the effects of trauma?
When was the last time that you gave your human pain a cup of tea and simply said, “Yeah, it really hurts, doesn’t it?”
And when was the last time you really SAW your neighbour?
We all walk with an ache and a limp, reminding us that life is both wonderful and difficult, joyful and miserable, beautiful and shitty…
and yet here we all are, living our lives with whispers of hopes and dreams.
Let’s walk gently with ourselves and others.
God, it hurts to be human.
Perhaps it is our very inquiry of and relationship with this pain that makes us ‘human’?
Perhaps that realisation will also help us to destroy the barriers and harmful stories that dehumanise another?
“Before you call yourself a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or any other theology, learn to be human first.” – Shannon Alder –