When you least expect it

wandererWe come into this world naked and empty. We grow up and we grow old, but we still feel empty. Most times we feel like we’re searching for some precious thing that’s been taken away from us a very long time ago. On rare occasions, we realize what that thing is.

Ever since I was a small boy I knew I was different, so much so that I felt there was a invisible wall separating me from the others. I didn’t like to go out and play with kids my age. I liked to read and write and imagine a world that was entirely different from the one I was inhabiting.

I was afraid that they’d see me for who I really was. And I didn’t even bother to pretend like I was just like them. A recluse, that’s how I spent my childhood years.

And, to paraphrase Mark Twain, I was lucky enough to find out why I was born at the tender age of thirteen. I wanted to be a writer, I wanted to inspire people, to change enough so the big world I was inhabiting would resemble the one in my dreams.

At first I thought it would be easy. I was proven otherwise. But still, I kept on trying. Never gave up on this dream of mine, no matter how difficult life became.

But, at the same time, I just wanted to be happy. Vague concept, this one. Happiness. Most times we search for it, yet we find something else instead. Maybe the exact opposite. But I knew how happiness looked like: I wanted to love and be loved back.

Simple as that.

But, well, life’s kind of ironic.

I fell in and out of love countless times. Yeah, with the wrong people at the wrong times. I’ve been hurt, I’ve suffered, I’ve cried. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde this time, it did feel as if my heart was made to be broken.

Of course, I’d lose a little bit of hope each time. Pain does that. It takes away hope, slowly, without you even realizing it… until it’s too late, that is.

Over the years I’ve been broken by health issues, pain, heartbreaks, hunger, disappointment, anger, until I became selfish, impatient, and bitter. But, well, one of my few redeeming qualities is that I’m a very hopeful person. I’m a dreamer. So I kept trying, I kept searching, and even when I gave up searching, because I was sick, tired, broken beyond repair (or so I thought), I still hoped.

Hope is stronger than fear, stronger than pain, stronger than everything your eyes can see and your hands can touch.

And, as I previously stated, life is kind of ironic, because the best and worst things happen when you least expect it. That’s why when searching for something we always find a bit less than what we were hoping to find. If that’s not ironic, I don’t know what is.

I have lived in physical pain for two years. It’s something you never get used to. It does become a strange constant in your life; measuring time better than a clock. And, then, after several treatments, the pain subsided. I was free. Free to see the world, to focus on something other than the insidious pain. I could think clearly, I could see clearly, and I could hope for a better future.

Around that time my books started selling. This blog became more and more crowded, and people from all over the world wrote me nice e-mails.

Then I found love. Real love.

I’ve always found it that love is more of an “in spite” type of thing. She loves me in spite of my many flaws, which is more than any human being could ever hope for. It makes every moment seem unique, magical in ways never before possible.

But then again, you can’t have it all.

Slowly, the pain returned. Unannounced, I might add. And when it comes, late at night or in the middle of the day, it leaves me alone. It does not take kindly to tears or screams of help. It does not care about the future I have planned for myself ever since I was thirteen.

No matter how long it lasts, it takes everything away. Leaves nothing behind. Just a little bit of hope.

Hope that, maybe, just maybe, it will never come back to haunt me.

56 thoughts on “When you least expect it

  1. This post has summed up my own life exactly! You have taken what I’ve been thinking for years and written about it. I could not have written this better than if it come from my own mind. I too have experienced great physical pain, which only major surgery could correct. Just this morning, I gave thanks for not actually feeling any pain for quite some time. Even though my life is not exactly as I’d like it to be, I am no longer in pain, which is truly the best feeling in the world. I thank you so much for writing this. It means a lot.


  2. This post spoke to my heart. I think we often believe that we are alone in our struggles. That we are somehow being singled out by the universe and asked to suffer more than others. Your blog was a beautiful reminder that while my trials have brought me to my knees, they have also enabled me to be the strong woman full of HOPE that I am today. I will pray for your relief from the pain as well.
    God Bless.


  3. What a profound, potent opening. That empty, searching feeling does stay from beginning to end, doesn’t it? I will keep you in prayers and positive thoughts that the pain will once again dissipate. Never give up that “which is stronger than everything the eye can see and the hand can touch.” Hope.


  4. I think you had a life well lived so far without letting anything hold you back experiencing full spectrum of emotions. Nothing can be better than a life lived fully.


  5. I always enjoy your posts, and I have to say, you won’t to write, to inspire others,to find love and be loved, my friend you have done all that in a wonderful way, your dreams of the world you want to live in are finding there way to you, to have the ability to dream is a gift, as dreams become reality, so keep up the good work with your hope……..and I leave you with this:-

    “What power it is…….I cannot say. All I know is that it exists……and it becomes available only when you are in the state of mind in which you know exactly what you want……………..and are fully determined not to quit until you get it ”

    Looking forward to your future work.


  6. Very heartfelt and so true. My pain is leaving me powerless there are two alterative fight or accept. Fighting leaves me agree and hopeless for peace . acceptance leave me in the hope that I can continue my journey and helps me stay in love w/ self. Thank you for sharing your truth so eloquently.


  7. This is so beautiful, almost made me cry. It’s like those perfect words that fit right into that empty place in my heart. I’m really looking forward to reading your other stuff. Thank you for sharing this wisdom :)


  8. One of my favorite quotes on hope is from Emily Dickinson’s poem. This is the first stanza:

    “Hope” is the thing with feathers—
    That perches in the soul—
    And sings the tune without the words—
    And never stops—at all—”

    In the Bible it also says that hope is an anchor of the soul. My mother recently passed on, after many years of emotional pain. In the end, I think that it was the loss of her hope that contributed to her decline. Don’t lose hope 8^). I will pray for you, Cristian.


  9. Powerful and inspiring! So many things I can identify with in this column. But now, I’m not daunted by the hurt, pain and even disappointments that I’ve met with in life. My mantra, my motto – with my life in Christ, I’m not made to be broken, but built to withstand. Thank you for sharing more about you and for being so transparent.


  10. Beautiful, poignant and hopeful. You have bared your soul to us and there can be no greater acknowledgment of your honesty as a writer. I sincerely hope that they find out the cause of your pain (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may be?) and that you can live a full life free of pain. This is both a hope and a prayer for you.


  11. “Hope is stronger than fear, stronger than pain, stronger than everything your eyes can see and your hands can touch.”… This sums up what I have chosen to believe in my life. Perfectly stated.


  12. “I’ve always found it that love is more of an “in spite” type of thing. She loves me in spite of my many flaws, which is more than any human being could ever hope for. It makes every moment seem unique, magical in ways never before possible.”

    So true.
    Wonderful words.
    Wonderful post.


  13. I’m so sorry you are in pain. So many people are. A woman I admired once told me, everybody is in some kind of pain, it comes with growing up. But some people get more than others, and it sucks. It isn’t always unfair, life is life, chance and free will and all, but I find that a lot of pain comes from people who pay a great deal to not have any. Pharmaceutical execs, their investors, making cures with one hand, and handing out vaccines that make your body fight its own cells with the other. Neem and tumeric are safe ways to fight viruses and strange conditions that the mainstream won’t mention. I hope you find healing and soon.


  14. U shud speak out everytime U have any physical trouble.. there r abundant doctors around… it’s U and only U who needs to be fit n fine and feeling good and flirting always…. no TEARS


  15. I wanted to share a bit of experience with chronic pain. When I was younger, I lived with it, chronic unbearable pain. Dr.s couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do anything. ‘Alternative’ treatments, like chiropractic and acupuncture gave a bit of relief, but no cure. It became, like so many things, ‘normal.’ I literally didn’t think about the fact that I was in pain, it was just a constant in my life. I would sometimes wonder why I couldn’t do things like other people could, only to have it forcefully brought back to me that the pain was always there. Really bad days I spent huddled in a ball waiting for it to be over. Better days I functioned pretty much like everyone else, but always with an edge. I was always brittle, ready to crack, because the pain could always come rushing back.

    I reared five children like that, worked through a huge mess of emotional issues, and generally lived a life like anyone else’s – from the outside.

    About seven years ago a doctor found a combination of pills that took the pain away. A miracle! Turns out it was something so simple (the solution, not the cause of the pain, still don’t have an answer for that) that I couldn’t help but ask why hadn’t some doctor come up with it twenty years earlier. So it goes.

    I’ve had pain-free times since then, but the pain always comes back somehow. I wouldn’t call it an old friend, but it is familiar, and I know how to live with it, deal with it.

    I don’t know that this comes across as hopeful. I want to share that I have a wonderful life. The things that made my life hard weren’t really about the pain. Pain did make everything harder, but experience has taught me that I can be happy, successful, cheerful, helpful, friendly, with or without pain. I won’t say it wasn’t hard work, but anything worthwhile is going to take some hard work. I used to think pain defined, or put limits on. the quality of my life. I know today that the pain is external to the quality of my life. I choose to be happy, and satisfied, and I am (mostly – nobody’s perfect, *grin*).

    I am not trying to be preachy, I want to help feed the hope. I did give up on hope in the past, but I never gave up on me. Hope, for me, is a transient thing. If I hope for anything, it is to be able to be happy and satisfied with what I have and do. The longer that I live, the more I am able.

    Wishing you all the best, and may you find some relief for your troubles.


  16. Very weird for me to find your blog and read this article today when I wrote almost the same things in my diary yesterday. It’s like destiny, I feel so close to your words that they made me cry. Very well written.


  17. Wonderful post. Pain is a terrible, eating away at you thing. Sorry for yours, and for everyone who has to endure it. So far mine is only sometimes, but when it comes, I think about those who have been through it their whole lives. Children that have to endure it. How sad. So glad you have found love! That is the most awesome thing life can give us! It helps with all the other things we go through. Cherish it.


  18. What a profound post. To sum up the measure and meaning of an entire life in 700 words is difficult in itself, and you’ve done it with such grace, clarity and emotion. It leaves me as betwixt and between in the end as the picture emoted in the beginning, as I’m sure it does you. Love for SELF is real love and doesn’t waver as your health may. That is love. Real love.


  19. Your description of living life with constant pain is one of the most apt I’ve ever read. I have lost much to the pain I feel. I had my first injury at 17 and surgery alone was enough to allow me to heal and walk without issues. My physical activities were permanently restricted, which alone was hard to deal with and accept, but pain did not haunt my every moment. I could tell you when it would rain and I would ache occasionally, but it was never worse than that. When I was 22 I began to feel pain again and had three more surgeries in very close succession. Since that time I’ve lived my life heavily medicated so that I can have a life. Before I was on a regimen of medications my life was absolute misery. Nothing compared to the pain, which followed me into what little sleep I got. I sincerely hope that you can find a resolution for your pain. It helps me to know I am not alone, that there are people who understand this hell. Your hope is invaluable. Never let go of it. Hope and love have gotten me through many days I doubt I would have survived otherwise. I wish you much luck and success.


  20. I arrived home from a lobg drive..tiredand sleepy. .or maybe, still upset about the unfortunate event that happened the other day. I couldn’t talk about how I feel to people close to me. They will just say.”you have everything, so its ok”…I always end up crying alone even if I shouldn’t really be alone..not because I have everything doesn’t mean I don’t get hurt..remember Shakespeare said, if you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh?
    Just as I thought I’d end the day cying again…I got to read this one…at the other side of the world there you are…writing..writing and providing space formy probably silly rant….ahhh I feel better..thanks…


  21. My heart goes out to you. You are very courageous to share your pain with others. I pray for comfort and peace and relief and most of all God’s unfailing and perfect love to wash all over you, Cristian. He is my Healer and Comforter! ❤️


  22. Such a true post about the human experience. We go through life and feel pain throughout the years, lose hope, and sometimes, we find someone who can restore that hope into our hearts. Life is complex and ever-changing.


  23. This speaks to my heart – everything from the childhood seclusion to the depth of emotion and pain in adulthood… yet the resilience of hope. Beautiful writing, and thank you for sharing.


  24. Wanderer Above the Mist (or is it Fog) anyway one of my favorite paintings since I love my own company. I grew up in Ireland and have often sat on the rocks overlooking the ocean unfortuately I’m not a writer so could only feel my inner depths rather than describe them as you so eloquently have done.

    Sorry about your pain Cristian – not much to say that would be of help but will keep you in my prayers.

    Great blog! :)


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