Champagne for my sham friends,
real pain for my real friends.
The brilliant Yarrow has always been kind to me here, with both comments and mentions in the blog, has commented that sometimes it’s hard to read my stuff, because of the high levels of pain, but that the insights that come out are worth it.
Ms. Rachelle has noted the same thing, that my difficult and painful subjects are balanced by art & truth.
If I was to talk to an editor, they may well tell me that taking out the painful and hard to read stuff would make my work more accessible, more saleable.
Fall Out Boy has written a song based on the Coward quote above, but they switched the quote to “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends.” Much nicer and easier, right? You know that when Biblical scholars look for “copying errors” between different bible versions, they assume that the more complex and challenging quote is correct, because they know that humans have a tendency to simplify rather than to complicate. The complex comes first before it is oversimplified, and the nuances of meaning removed.
It’s my sense that without the pain, the wisdom has no impact. The medicine won’t work unless you let it in, the surgery won’t happen without cutting to the bone.
The life coach, Merci Miglino, talks about the importance of being both observer and participant, of both feeling your feelings without dropping into them while recording them, and how many people find that hard to learn. Of course, that was the key survival skill I learned as a child. TBB has noted that it’s good that I can both feel and think about those feelings, because otherwise she thinks I would be dead.
I can’t imagine the kind of learning I have found myself without experiencing the pain. Pain is a gift, says Brand & Yancey, because without it we wouldn’t know where healing is required, wouldn’t know when we were hurting ourselves. And, as Miglino noted in the workshop, it isn’t the pain that is the problem, it’s the suffering, the way we hold onto expectations and feel those crushed bythe signals of pain that tell us what we are trying isn’t working so well.
It’s not pain, it is how we experience pain. The doc in the emergency room was surprised I didn’t want pain meds when he tried to reset my ankle. I didn’t want to pay, knew I couldn’t pay, and I know how to manage pain. It’s a key skill of my life.
And there are blessings to that, including wisdom, which clearly I value highly.
That’s why I understand Noel Coward. “Champagne for my sham friends, real pain for my real friends.” It’s not bottled anasthesia that brings the gifts, it’s real pain.
Thanks to all who share a bit of my real pain to get the real lessons and insight that come along.