Learning from pain
Maybe it is too early to say something, but I feel that I must pay tribute to this unflinching landmark added into the timeline of my life. My heart has just survived yet another blow, and in a time when relationships form and implode with alarming speed and where nothing is certain, there is much to learn, to realize, and to understand.
I have nothing much to say except that my feelings are still strong toward this person; I can’t speak about our time together without being overwhelmed by emotions. I have loved so much that I know throughout my life I will never forget it. My heart has reasons. We had something good before—something we would always have.
Even though there were rough times, even though that someone left me and broke my heart, I wouldn’t give up a minute of our time together. I will do it all again, even if in the end, I know it will hurt me. I wouldn’t exchange for anything a moment of the ecstatic roller-coaster 13 months that we have been together, nor the ill-starred attempt at a second go on our relationship.
We were like magnets, two strong forces, which in time would be difficult to sustain. Needless to say, once upon a time, we swore never to say goodbye, but something took hold of us and we changed. But those days, those moments that seldom happen in one’s lifetime, would never be forgotten.
What did I learn after all this? It was not easy; the days were long, hard and very lonely. There were times when I wished none of this had happened, but there was no denying the fact that the person was gone and had chosen to be. All I was left with were memories way too painful but worth reminiscing. The pain was unbearable, the tears never ran dry, the heartaches never left.
Because of pain, I learned to lie low and mellow down, to control my temper and not be angry all the time; to forgive myself and ask others to forgive me; to appreciate every moment spent with loved ones; to take opportunities, no matter how big or small, and never waste it; and to enjoy time spent together because one day we might no longer have the chance to do so.
Because of pain, I learned not to demand too much time or attention and insist only on what I want. I learned the meaning of respect, trust, and love. Respect is something we ought to give, while trust is earned, and love is something we share unconditionally, even if sometimes that entails not asking for anything in return.
On a lighter side, because of pain, I learned to appreciate the little things I took for granted—a walk with my dog; listening to music; watching comedy films; bonding with my nephews and niece because someday they would all grow up and I would miss it; a good laugh with my friends while drinking coffee or trying out a new restaurant in the city.
Because of pain, I learned not to ask God why, and instead allow His plans and grace to unfold. I learned to love and take care of myself, because in the end, when everything gets tough and everything else breaks, my strength to survive will always come from within. I realized that at the end of each day, I will have no one but me.
I was a fool for believing that having an immense brain capacity exempted one from personal struggles. No matter how successful you are, how strong and brave, how intelligent, or how comfortable you are in life, you are not exempted from pain or the cruel twist of fate. Life has its ways of teaching us a lesson and, most often, these lessons come from pain.
I know I am still young and a lot of things can happen. I know this is not the first nor the last time I will ever experience this. Yet, deep in my heart, I know I won’t regret any of this. I know there is a reason why this has happened to me. My prime characteristic has always been resiliency, a quality that has served me well, helping me overcome personal droughts, emotional disasters, and physical pains. I know that beneath this ragged, imperfect moment lies something more beautiful. Pain works this way—poisonous if held too long, but cathartic when released. Maybe it’s pain that makes a man, leads him to the truth, and becomes his blessing in the end.
I don’t deny that my last relationship may have been my greatest love, but it is all about acceptance, surrender, and loving someone enough to let that person go. For me, the truth came in moments of prayer and nights of bitter tears. In the end, however, I realized that real happiness began with oneself. I learned the hard way that it did not come from others. I should never be afraid to give it all when I am in a relationship. I should never break someone’s heart, so that when the feeling is gone there will be no regrets, only memories and gratefulness.
I hope that if the one I love will read this, that person will realize how much I have loved and committed, and how much I am hurting right now. I hope this person will find the peace of mind and happiness that I’m not able to give.
Joey Balatayo, 27, is a speech and journalism professor at Capiz State University-Main Campus in Roxas City.
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