The Sound Love Makes

by Paul Chubbuck

Lately I’ve been contemplating and noticing how many, if not most, inspired and happy people are ones who have endured a lot of suffering and managed, somehow, to learn from it and create a new life around what they’ve learned.

I’ve heard uncountable stories; the young musician, unappreciated in his family, who mustered great determination and became a great composer; the wounded vet who created a retreat center to help other vets heal and so healed himself, and on and on.

It’s not a formula. That is, adversity and abuse can certainly not be credited with creating genius.  And nurture and support certainly do contribute to a person finding a satisfying life. However, the “underdog stories” of overcoming great difficulty are powerful for us because we’ve all been there. The stories help us find the courage to bounce back.

In the middle of suffering, we want to go backwards, i.e. we just want things to go back to some “normal” we remember.  But that never seems to work. What has happened cannot be undone. What is lost is lost. Now…what can be grieved, learned, and gained?

A couple of months ago, I wrote the poem here in my April 2017 blog exploring these ideas.  Based on a dream, that poem metaphorically talks about the possibility of transforming “our crap”:

No one wants it as it is.
Yet hidden inside—an invisible vapor which burns hot with a smokeless flame.
If I can extract the one from the other, I shall be a wealthy and a satisfied man.

Now this week, I’ve been exploring a closely related idea. It started with me feeling glum and lonely for a couple of days. I asked the question, “Is this loneliness just a bad attitude, or is it good for anything? Can it move me closer to what I most truly want?”

The answer came to me in a poem. May it also speak to others.

The Sound Love Makes
by Paul Chubbuck

Like the flesh that hardens round a wound,
you feel the toughness round your heart.
You sense there’s music in the world you can’t hear,
affection you cannot feel.

The ache feels bad,
but not, you fear,
so dire as walking the life you’ve known,
like a turtle with no shell.

You’re right, of course,
about the armor needed in the old life.
But perhaps you didn’t notice
when the ache in your heart turned imperceptibly,
like a great tide, towards a reunion you yearn for.

Aren’t you today like the hound on a leash,
who is no prisoner to that tether?
Though he tugs at times towards sights and scents in the grass,
his true joy is the pull which prompts him
to walk close by his master’s feet.

When you chased toys for lack of what you truly craved,
you ignored gentler calls.
So what but heartache
could call you home from your long journey away from yourself?

If separated from his master,
the hound may eat from another dish for a time,
but he searches for just one thing.

His heartpain is the estrangement from what he loves,
and the sound love makes when it calls him home.

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Paul Chubbuck is a practicing psychotherapist in Fort Collins, CO, using Somatic Experiencing® to help people release trauma, abuse, and loss. He may be reached at 970-493-2958 or through his website at www.releasingthepast.com.

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