I see at last that all the knowledge
I wrung from the darkness—that the darkness flung me—
Is worthless as ignorance: nothing comes from nothing,
The darkness from the darkness. Pain comes from the darkness
And we call it wisdom. It is pain.
- Randall Jarrell
We insist on believing that there is meaning to and relief from our pain. It must end, there must be a way to be, a place to go where somehow we can find a way to make it stop and when finally at that place there will be something, some thing that will make it all obvious. There will be gifts, a magical, mystical power, maybe wisdom, bestowed and we will see so clearly how it was all worthwhile. A newfound sense of freedom is what I have always hoped for. A certain knowledge what would one day gloriously catapult me into some other as of yet unimagined way of being, some other as of yet unimagined way of seeing, some other as of yet unimagined way of living. An existence of joy and freedom – I will rise up with wings like eagles, I will run and not get weary – a profound release, an incredible lightness of being.
And then sometimes I resign myself to those words of Mr. Jarrell. Those thoughts are not true. That place of freedom and lightness of being does not exist, it will not come. This is just pain for no discernable purpose and this is just darkness for no other reason than the fact that pain breeds darkness.
I used to think those thoughts, and sometimes I still do. Mostly I exist in paragraph one but sometimes I slide into paragraph two. I’m learning to live with ambiguity.