Two of the words in the title of this post are pretty painful words, words we don’t like to often think of and things we don’t like to experience. We don’t like experiencing agony whether it is a physical agony, a spiritual agony, an emotional agony, or a mental agony, we avoid it (well, most people do, but that’s another blog post entirely). We don’t often like endings either. We get engrossed in a good book or a good movie and we don’t want it to end. We find a song that we love and don’t want it to end, so we hit the repeat button and play it over and over again. The agony and the end aren’t typically good things, and yet they often go hand in hand.
I remember that not long after a break up a good friend of mine told me that the agony switches sides in a break up. Leading up to the break up one person is tormented and in anguish over whether or not to end the relationship. Once the decision has been made there is perhaps even more agony. But once they end the relationship their agony lessens or even ends, and yet it begins in an entirely new way for the other person. Now, I only know my side of that break up, but I for one can say this to be true. When we broke up he seemed relaxed and at peace, and while that angered me at the time, in the days that followed it actually gave me comfort. “At least he is free from the agony”, I would think to myself (sometimes more sarcastically than others). There was, at least for me, some sense of peace that he was at peace and no longer in agony. If it meant that he was happy or at least at peace then I could deal with it and be happy for him (also, some days that was easier said than done – I am no saint).
As time pressed on I found myself coming back to this thought a lot. If this is true in dating, could it be true in other aspects of life? Certainly.
To a certain extent, it is true with death. The dying (at least those who know they are dying) are often in pain as they come to the end of their lives. Some struggle more than others. The agony is real. Eventually, though, we all die. When someone dies, the agony switches sides – the dead are freed from their pain and agony, while those left living now have to adjust to reality without someone they love.
I’ve been on both sides of the agony fence in my life, and I’ve found this to be true: agony switches sides. Whether it is with the death of a loved one, a relationship ending, or a friendship coming to a close, the agony switches sides. The agony is real, as is the end. But with every end can come a new beginning. With the agony switching sides, there is the comfort that at least someone is without pain and suffering.
Even in the pain and the agony we can find hope, we can find new beginnings, and we can find comfort in knowing that someone is in less agony than before.