A Few Thoughts on Pain
Do you know the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun”? When you’re in pain, it seems that the complete opposite is true. The moments crawl and you feel every minute.
I recently had surgery on my mouth. They pulled 6 teeth and removed 6 screws from my previous bone graft. The pain has been excruciating. Imagine a thousand paper cuts on your gums; that’s as close as I can describe it. It’s been 7 days of aching and not sleeping or eating.
Sorry if I sound whiny, but when you’re in pain you quickly lose all perspective of what’s going on around you. I have become self-centered.
In the middle of one of the night, I started thinking about people I know that suffer from chronic pain. Jeremy lost his leg. I can’t imagine the pain of that while mourning the loss of my 6 little teeth. I have a friend, Mary, who is always in pain and sometimes bed-bound. She’s had numerous procedures with little relief. There are those I pass by every day with pain I don’t even know about.
When the doctor asks you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10, I wonder how my 10 compares to theirs? When it’s your own pain, it just hurts. And the scary thing is, when it gets bad, you’d do just about anything to relieve it.
It’s not just physical pain, we endure emotional pain, too. When I came out of anesthesia they told me they hadn’t done the whole procedure. I was supposed to have implants put in. But instead, the surgeon greeted me with the news that I would need another bone graft. “Oh, great!” I thought, I get to do this all over again! In some way or another, I will carry the thoughts and the pain that comes with them until the next procedure can take place.
Sometimes there is fear or embarrassment associated with pain. I’ve had time to think about it and if I’m honest, I am afraid to go on with this course of treatment. I’m also embarrassed. I didn’t lose my teeth because of bad dental hygiene, it’s due to bad orthodontic care in my 20’s. But no one knows that. To them, I’m just another old lady without teeth!
Sometimes emotional and/or spiritual pain can be even more debilitating than physical pain. Taking Advil every four hours or putting on ice packs does not relieve this pain. I have greater empathy for people who overdose on medications, or even attempt to take their own lives. It’s not the answer but I get it.
Pain is pretty discouraging. It hurts.
What do we do with our pain? What do we do when it’s still two hours until your next Advil dose, and the ice in the pack has melted? What do you do when it’s the middle of the night and your mouth is throbbing so hard that you can’t sleep? When you’re trying not to moan or cry and wake your loved ones?
What works for me is turning to the One who made me. Turning to the One who loves me with an everlasting love; and the One who suffered and died for me.
After all, “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Is. 53:5)
C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I know I sure screamed at God in my head a few times. Even though He shouts in our pain, we still must quiet all the other noises to really understand what He’s saying.
Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. CS Lewis
What did He scream at me during those long, painful nights? He loves me; I am His beautiful child; He doesn’t want this pain for me; He will hold me with His nail-scarred hands. And most importantly, the pain will pass.
There’s another thing you might have heard, “Time heals all wounds.” Sometimes this is true, but the healing doesn’t come from time alone. Time is a great healer, but a greater Healer is our God.
Whatever is causing you pain, today, take it to the Lord. Whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual or all of the above, there is just no other way to get through it.
written by Major Kathy Muir, Asst. Audit Secretary, USA East