The Pain-Bearers - Lorca Smetana

Sometimes I think I have come into this life as one of the pain-bearers — not one who takes all pain onto herself, nor one who takes it from others, but who has the capacity to be with the pain of loss, of death.  We are needed in this world because so many cannot.  On days like today from the outside it seems I have created a life that invites it — a call because of a lost seven year-old son, and another for the mother of a five year-old girl.  I will take these and along with white birds, with singing, with speaking into words we transmute some pain — not by making the pain any less, but somehow by making humans a little more able to live through.  And there is still a cost to me for being able to do this, and I give myself the touch of long fleeces, of living lambs, a bearded cheek, the bite of lemon, a heartbeat into my palms through feathers in hope of feeding myself against the tide going out.  This afternoon trauma re-visits me like a tiger nesting in a back room that comes out to prowl, or to slash.  And then my son comes up to me with a picture frame in front of his face, chin canted to the side, eyes on mine, and announces, “Mona Misa!”  My stomach hurts from laughing, from pride in this glad being.  And I will be ready for the next flight, the next song, the next call.

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