Who hasn't experienced pain? It's part of living, they say. And what is our greatest ally in overcoming it? Time.
Time heals all wounds – such a cliché, right? But I guess very few can argue against its truth. Another way to look at it, though, is: it takes time to heal. And maybe the question is why can’t it be instant? Why can’t we be like how vampires are told about or Wolverine who can have their wounds, the physical at least, be gone fast? Why do scars, cuts and gashes have to linger? And, of course, this is not just those that are skin-deep. The emotional ones actually make their mark differently altogether and provide more difficulty to remove or get over because there are no laser surgeries or chemical peels that can be done to eliminate them.
These days, we’re so used to things that can be done fast: fast food chains, instant noodles, quick dry paint, one-stop shops, skin whiteners that do their job in two weeks…so many that speed seems to be a main criterion in the success of a product or a service. But there are certain things that can’t be accomplished fast, which only time can bring to the full or to the fullest: growing old and growing up, standing by our commitments and convictions, education, and even pregnancy. These things can never be what they are without the element of they taking their time. And healing from hurts and disappointments is among them. Is it to prolong the torture? To squeeze out all that we can learn in the process? So that the redemption, abdication or the end product is so much sweeter to savor than if it were accomplished in a short time?
Maybe yes to all of the above.
But perhaps it’s also about readiness and preparation. Imagine if we were born in this world as adults who are expected to be mature already. Think about forcing a college-level subject to a regular pre-schooler. And how would it be if commitments that we made and convictions that we have need only to be tested within a minute when in such a short time, nothing could have it questioned, doubted or challenged which can make the commitment and the conviction firmer and stronger?
In healing from our “sufferings,” time does make us ready and prepared. For what? It makes us ready to choose the healing. It gives us the opportunity to imagine what it’s like, perhaps through an idealistic vision or through the recall of a “painless” existence, and to be able to decide that we want it. And even with this, the recovery from the hurt is not easy or instant because time doesn’t teach us the how to be healed. It only allows us to, again and again, choose it. Maybe by simply carrying on with our everyday life despite the throbbing pain, or by the coping mechanisms that we adopt to be able to wake up and move about, or the distractions we choose to divert ourselves from doing anything dangerous or hurtful.
Time allows us to repeat to ourselves over and over - despite everything that disappointed us, that put us down, that broke our hearts - that we choose to be healed from all of these. And when the moment that our choice to heal is tried and tested enough to push beyond the pain, to go over it and above it, do we actually heal. Time forces us to live by that choice, even when we’re paralyzed and blinded by pain. Nothing else could give us the chance to be repetitive, to be sure, to be consistent with wanting to be healed but time.