Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pondering Pain

Does pain equal suffering? In the Bible Paul makes a big deal of suffering. Jesus, however, tries to dissuade his disciples from wishing they could be equals with him - or at least one on his right and one on his left - because he knows what suffering will ensue. Pain is a part of that suffering. Physical pain, mental pain, emotional pain, financial pain.

Pain is - well - painful. It hurts. Yet, we can become so inured to pain that we can ignore it - at least for a while. Dull aches, legs that twitch, backs that throb or mental/emotion anguish that goes on and on and on. After some length of time, we can function over and around that pain. We shrug it off as a part of life, like lost loves, deaths in the family, taxes, war.

However, that pain is with us and saps energy that might be used of other things like work or pleasure. We don't realize that we're missing some important things in life until one day, we just don't want to get out of bed. We have no meetings; we have no lunch dates; we have few internet friends; our hobby supplies are gathering dust; the exercise equipment isn't even plugged in. Then, someone asks - what brings you joy?

Yeah, right. Joy. We sing about that at Christmas. Joy to the world. Then we get a bit sarcastic and think about all the war and terror and wonder when the joy went. If we reflect on our own lives, we don't even know what brings pleasure any longer much less what brings joy.

So, we begin.

My life is full of beginnings. My fiber projects are so numerous that I can't keep track of all of them. I make some calls to friends and promise that I will stay in touch - until next Christmas I remember that promise. Several weeks ago, I said I wouldn't start another fiber project until I finished something already begun. Didn't happen.

But, I did finish this beautiful scarf with variegated red yarn - or did I post this already? LOL

And, I've acknowledged that my pain drains me. Adapting to my life situation with fibromyalgia will take a lot more time. My new C-PAP seems to be helping - too soon to tell. Until now, I've been suffering. Since I have a name for my pain, I don't feel as if I'm suffering. I hurt, I ache, but I'm okay...and I'm going to better.


Cecilia said...

I know there is a great deal of theological talk about the redemptive nature of pain. I'm just not sure I buy it. I think at different times, in different situations, we can be more or less able to bring good and growth out of pain. Sometimes we can't at all. That's not our lack of character or integrity. It's just that pain is bad. Pain is a sign from our bodies that all is not well. It's not God inviting us into union with Christ (though maybe that will happen for some of us, if all the forces in the universe align just right...!)

Thinking of you, and praying for you.

Pax, C.

Cecilia said...

And also: for Friday mornings, in the prayer book I use, the prayers include thanksgiving "for the presence of Christ in our weakness and suffering." Each and every time I encounter it, it makes me weep with surprise and relief and, yes, gratitude.

Janis Bland said...

You could've written this post for me, except I'm too dense to recognize life is full of beginnings.


Anonymous said...

Lot to think about there S'Cropper. If there is no pain, how do you know there is suffering? I don't have many answers about stuff like that.

The scarf is beautiful, btw. I love the pattern, how it looks like it's folded over and over on itself. It's such a meditation on transformation, the way you take nothing more than colored string and make it into something beautiful and useful.

I hope that having a name for your pain will give you a mental place to put it, maybe it will not be so overwhelming. Keep on keeping on S'Cropper.

Saint Pat said...

I'm still digesting all you said. Maybe I can get back to you with something intelligent to say.

For now, {{{{Sharecropper}}}} pain is debilitating. May you find relief. May God be with you.

The scarf is beautiful. You have so many talents.