The other day I wrote on the value of pain. And since then I have had so many conversations with some of you about all of the painful situations that you are currently going through, or already have gone through. It can be so incredibly overwhelming right? It is never easy to talk about cancer, and how that is taking the life of your dad. Or listening to someone share how mental illness is transforming their sister who was once brilliant and vibrant and is now fading away. Pain comes in all shapes and sizes and pain knows very few boundaries.
In the midst of pain we can respond or we can ignore it.
I’ll never forget that Saturday morning men’s breakfast that we were sitting around a table enjoying bagel egg and cheese sandwiches when someone got a call that Shelly had passed away the night before. Shelly attended our little church and was known and loved by everyone. She was happily married and loved on her beautiful 6 year old daughter. Shelly was a paraplegic. She was not only unable to move her legs, she couldn’t feel them either. The nerve endings in her legs that were supposed to communicate to her telling her that she was in pain did not work. So that Friday night Shelly cozied up to a gas flame heater and fell asleep. She never realized that her legs were burning and suffering excruciating pain. Eventually a clot formed and went straight to her heart. Unfortunately, the nerve endings that were designed to tell her that something hurt and that she needed to do something about it were not working. She never got the message.
What is your pain saying to you? What is the next step that you need to take to move away from the source of pain and move towards the place of healing?
There is an old Jewish proverb that I love so much. It says, “What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.” When I am in the midst of pain, I no longer apologize for my tears. Those tears are as much a part of my communication process as the initial pain is. I value the times when I have what we call in my family “a good cry”. Don’t mask your emotions, don’t apologize for your tears. God has given us each and every emotion so that we can properly relate to Him, and to one another.
Take a breath. Pause for a minute. What is your pain trying to tell you?