With A Grain of Salt

I’ll take it with a grain of salt. I always do.

I’ll take your absence with a grain of salt. I’ll take your reluctance with a grain of salt. I’ll take your withdraw, your forgetfulness, your walls all with a grain of salt. I’ll take your unkind words, your lack of empathy, and the anger with a grain of salt.

I’ll watch you hide your feelings behind a grain of salt. I see you tuck in the aftermath of a zillion stories neatly behind a grain of salt, creating them as both relevant and irrelevant in a single breath. I’ll know you are you collect a hundred tears into a single grain of salt, and cast it into the wind into whatever direction it may go, assaulting whichever sensibility it may find along the way.

Sometimes, the little grains of salt we cast find nothing but open space. In others they find a wound, a single place where the insignificant become significant, the nightmare becomes a certain reality.  It’s ironic how something that may appear to be so small can create so much chaos, how something so necessary to our existence can be so painful.

Yet, our experiences, it seems, are based upon some little grains of salt somewhere.  We often dance around the fires of our lives not to some sacred music shared by all, but to some painful sound created when little grains of salt touch our sorest places. It’s a sound only we can hear, so we shout it to all around us, hoping in some way they will hear it too.

Rumi says, “Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.”

It’s also where the grains of salt enter you. Sometimes the bandage itself is laden with salt, and sometimes the light shows you just how tainted your bandages are. Sometimes you’ll remember that you can’t really heal until you throw those bandages away, and face the pains of healing.

In this life, it seems much more prudent to understand the value of the pain than it does to be a slave to it. How many undiscovered wounds would remain festering if not for the little grains of salt that show us the way to Rumi’s light? How many limped steps would we take? How many journeys would we not begin? How many tears would remain stored in some ungodly cavern burned deep without our soul if not for the exposed wounds that remind us to just let it go?

The purpose of the pain is in the pain. It is not the grains of salt others cast into the ether that hurts me. It is in my own darkness, my own expectations of the world, my own ideas of the way things should be that I suffer. It is in the longing for a touch that I find my lonely moments. It is in the desire to be wanted that I find rejection. It is in the need to feel accepted that I find the words thrown at me like those tiny grains of salt.  The wounds are mine, and I can only blame myself for ignoring them.

I began removing my bandages years ago. I wanted the salt to pepper my wounds like a desert’s wind-swept sands. I wanted to know each of them, intimately, for no other reason than to say goodbye. “Meet the demon in hell”, I would say, “and temper your sacred sword there! Do not run and hide, for the devil himself can only hurt you if you give him permission.”

So, I’ve healed. Some wounds have healed quickly, some have taken more time. Some are still open, but now I accept each grain of salt with a reverence.  Each sting awakens me to something new, each tinge of pain reminding me I am still alive and cognizant enough to know the Sun is coming. Then, upon the breaking dawn, I see…that place where the bandage once set, the light entering.

And peace.

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