Yesterday I ordered a small gelato, half hazelnut and half some sort of chocolate (donatella). I noted to my sister that the hazelnut didn't have any flavor, to which she responded that that was because the chocolate had overpowered it.
I thought about this later on in the day. Why had I ordered two flavors? Wouldn't one flavor always overpower the other? Was it possible to get two strong flavors that didn't mute or diminish each other? Sure I could have cleansed my palette in between eating one flavor and the other, but that wasn't the point: the point was to enjoy two flavors simultaneously.
The same principle holds true in other areas: the pain of a cut finger gets wiped out by the pain of a migraine. Sure, that first, smaller pain still exists, but it becomes imperceptible when the greater pain washes through our system.
This principle of one thing overpowering and/or occluding another also occurs beyond the boundaries of sameness. In other words, pain isn't always occluding other pain. One gelato flavor isn't always overpowering another flavor. Sometimes, physical pain stops our ability to feel, spiritually. Sometimes, the swelling in our body occludes the entry of enlightenment. And sometimes the resultant frustration further occludes the connection we so desperately seek and need.
Maybe faith is the power that helps us remember (or trust that we once felt and will again feel) the connections that are temporarily made imperceptible by pain.
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