The pain has been under control for several days now. It’s been such a relief not to have breakthrough pain around every scheduled medication dose. I am grateful that my healing is coming along nicely and that I have not dealt with infection or complications.
While under control, the pain is certainly far from gone. Movements that I usually take for granted are now either impossible or painful. I spend lots of time sitting, resting. Bored.
Some have advised me to get more of the pain meds, that I should not have to deal with this as much as I do. I appreciate their advice and compassion, for sure. However, to control and diminish the pain more than I am would be detrimental to my well-being.
You see, I need this pain. Not in an unstable and unhealthy way–not at all. I know myself well enough to understand that the better I feel, the more I do. If I remove pain, I will overexert and that will delay or prevent my healing. The best thing I can do is embrace the pain and realize that it is for my own good. I take pain medication enough to enjoy my day, interact well with those around me, and keep a positive outlook, but not enough to fool my mind into thinking that all is well and I can take on the world (or the housework, or whatever). In this situation, I am grateful for pain. It reminds me of my limitations.
The same principle applies in my spiritual walk. Pain I experience in my life, my growth, and my relationships is indicative of where I am or where I should be. If I cause another person pain or experience pain from them, it may be that someone has overstepped and healing is required. This healing brings growth, and that growth leads to greater maturity.
Not all pain is related to injury, however. Ask any person to whom fitness is a priority (I would not be that person) and they will probably say “no pain, no gain.” When muscles are used and stretched and extended beyond their usual range, there is pain. While unpleasant, this pain is also a reward of sorts because it shows that hard work was done. Muscle soreness reminds the person that he has taken steps to achieve his goals and he willingly returns to the gym the following day, eager to continue the process. Strength and range-of-motion gradually increase and he gets stronger and builds stamina.
So it should be in my journey and walk with the Lord. If I am never experiencing “stretching” or “muscle pain,” I am also never making progress. I am not building strength or stamina for the race that is life.
If my goal is greater maturity and Christ-likeness, there will be days of pain–sometimes great pain. What will my attitude toward that pain be?
When I am pulled out of my comfort zone to approach a smelly homeless man on the street (or that intimidating lady at church who seems to have it all together) will I risk the pain of exposure in order to gain the reward of maturity? Or will I walk on by, unwilling to be vulnerable?
When I am asked to spend less on my own children for Christmas so that I can fill shoe boxes for children who have never received a gift, will I be obedient? Or can I not see beyond the wants in my own home to provide for the needs in another?
Will I give up my “me” time to listen to an annoying neighbor rattle on about her aches and pains (because she really is just lonely, and the only truly annoying thing about her is that I have things I’d rather be doing)? Will I invite her in for coffee or will I give her a cursory nod and greeting and explain that I simply don’t have time to chat?
And, when really painful things happen, like a cancer diagnosis, will I give in to the pain, embrace it, and realize that my God does all things well? Will I trust Him that this is for my good, and for the good of those who love me? Can I trust Him with the pain of watching my husband and my children watch me–feeling their own pain and fear?
I believe God is doing something amazing. I see Him touching hearts (including mine) through my pain. So you see, If greater maturity is coming, if the Kingdom of God is being furthered, if I would glorify His name, I need this pain. It is my privilege.