Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Pain. Nerve endings screaming for relief. Waves of despair rolling over your whole body. Feeling the pull and tug of the whirlpool as you helplessly flail about gasping for air.

There is the pain that throbs, the kind that stabs, the variety that aches. Pain that plunges you into the darkness of unconciousness.

How we fear it. What lengths we go to in hopes of avoiding it. We curse it. Abhor it. But can we find anything to learn from it or appreciate from pain? Of course, pain may save our life from burning or cutting. But what about the pain that goes on and on, long after the danger has been removed?

I don't claim to have answers; only a few observations from experience. While I don't care to burden you with a long list of the many times and forms of pain I've experienced, I can't help but think that I might have had an amount slightly above average in my life. One example, lived through twice in the past 2 years will suffice. As luck would have it, I belong to the 1% who have a variation in the nerves of my lower jaw which means that local anesthetics do not shut off all the nerves into my teeth, even though the other tissues are completly numb.

In 2010 I had to have a root canal, but it took many attempts by several very qualified professionals over nine months. Willingly, bravely! I opened my mouth to let them apply cartrigdes of useless anesthetic and let them drill down to the pulp of my molar, feeling all the agony, and simply asking for a moment to reset my resolve. Twice I took an intrapulpal injection. To no avail.

While this particular saga eventually had a pain-free ending (except for the credit card bill), I learned a lot about pain. Today I'm on the last stage of a refresher course on the lessons as I have had a second molar extracted, involving a very painful recovery.

I'm losing some of my fear of pain. Learning to trust my Father in the midst of pain. Finding that one can be cheerful and kind to others in spite of pain. Become more sensitive to the suffering of others. Know that as bad as it feels, others have felt pain far beyond my own. Burn and cancer victims. Automobile crash victims. Soldiers past and present. Abused infants, children, and women. Tortured prisoners and kidnapped people.

There is no need to deny what my nerves are screaming, but I can bring to mind truths that soothe. That I can bear it by the strength Christ is willing to give, if I'm open to receive. That my Father knows all about it, and He'll take it into His hands. Only good comes from His hands, and I can trust Him fully. Even if I have pain.

If I can be kinder, more patient, more aware, more sensitve, then all my pain will not have been in vain.

Oh, Jesus, you who know first hand torture and agony of the most severe kind inflicted upon mankind, who bore it willingly all for love for me, make my heart like yours. Let me learn to love as you do. Help me to trust you more, for I know that while you may take the pain and make something beautiful in me by it, it never came from You.

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