There are days when there is no silver lining, when you cannot find the upbeat, when your voice loses its upspeak. These are bunker days when you hunker down into a protected corner and wait. Some days, this is the battle. How, amidst the drone of war, can optimism be found or hope garnered?

I think that it is in spite of the raging conflict, that we find hope or beauty or joy. Cowering in the corner of the bunker, we notice the small patch of moss that grows in the crack. It is luscious, green velvet and grows irregardless. In the captivity of prison, spiritual sustenance can be found in a vibrant color or a spider’s web latticed in the corner, catching the morning sun.

How hollow must our hearts be that we are incapable of finding something….anything….of beauty in this world? On the bleakest of days, on days of torture and suffering, on days of spine bending sorrow, there is still mesmerizing wonder all around us. If we can only open ourselves and permit our senses to do exactly that  for which they were designed: FEEL. The angst resides in the resistance to feel. We fear the full concentration of our feelings, fighting against the potency of our humanity. We dilute ourselves because that is the way we have been taught. We accept the theory that only in a diluted state are we palatable. And our feelings are only managed if filtered and thinned out.

But, there is beauty so stunning that it hurts. There are things in this life absolutely worth feeling, although many of us shy from them. I readily accepted an epidural when I gave birth to my sons, but I can believe that for the woman who experiences the entirety of labor and delivery sans drugs has a wholly different experience. There is a difference between walking and carrying your clubs through 18 holes of golf and playing from a golf cart. It is not a judgement of one better than the other, but rather an acknowledgment that one is a deeper, more sentient experience. Walking to the market differs from driving and parking.

Life is painful. It is also full of abounding pleasure. Either way, it is the foundation of what makes us truly human and separate from all other creatures (or most of them)…..we can feel and appraise our experiences. We experience life. We don’t simply live it.

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