I was getting ready to set off typing and I felt a ‘pull’ in my spirit to go through old articles. Only as I type right now do I understand what exactly prompted me to re-post this one. I just said “See you later,” to my old boss and good friend as he recently tendered his resignation. It was good to have closure. It was also good to see he and his wife looking rested and at peace. They have been through so much, serving in the ministry with us. I identified with his struggle and am very proud to know him. Rick and Donna Ligthart are precious jewels in the crown called PASS network for life that will one day be laid at the feet of The Almighty God. And their wisdom in knowing when to acknowledge pain and take the time to rest and recover was a powerful lesson that I needed a refresher course on.
This is for you, my friends…my FAMILY. We’ll see each other soon.
WHEW! What a week! So much of what I had intended to write to you has been forced to the absolute back of my mind. I was grateful to have other things to share with you, as this was not a week for me to have an original thought of my own. Such is the problem with pain. It can be a most destructive, distractive, emotionally displacing experience. By the same token, experiencing pain can be a learning experience and bring things into a corrective order, if we let it.
Enduring pain may cause you to lose your objectivity and sense of perspective. It can make you overly sensitive to pain in other areas. Where, in any other case, you would have been able to bear a minor injury, when you have prolonged pain in one place, it can make all pain anywhere else unbearable.
I suppose it is important to have a healthy respect for pain and a balanced tolerance for it. When pain is initially felt, it can tell you where something is wrong and needs to be looked into. When the pain is felt severely, it can be completely debilitating. When you can endure what some consider to be more than your share, you are considered strong. When you fold quickly under the pressure of pain, people call you names like, ‘pansy,’ or ‘wuss’.
I have been told that I have an abnormally high tolerance for pain. It was a compliment of sorts. Doctors have marveled at my ability to function in the face of several medical anomalies…a triumph of my will to live, so to speak. By the same token, that tolerance for pain has forced me to endure things that could have been corrected much sooner had I acknowledged that pain earlier and sought the help of others far more knowledgeable in the sources of my pain.
I said all of that to explain to you that this past week I had a rupture. It was very painful, totally inconvenient and a little messy. I was very grateful that there weren’t an awful lot of people around (I HATE to make a scene, even in injury). My fantastic sons were present the entire time. They were patient and calm. They didn’t waste words attending to me as they kept me from collapsing, helping into a seat. One, held me close as I cried in agony. The other, went to look for help and did his best to stay calm.
It was fortunate that an experienced professional who knew me well, happened by and I had the presence of mind to speak out. She listened carefully, assessed the situation and determined that it was the result of enduring a pain longer than I should have without seeking out help sooner. She prescribed a treatment and told my sons to take me home to rest.
After taking my treatment and sleeping soundly for a while, I awoke, taking some time to think about what had really happened. The event that caused the rupture was not really the problem. If I had treated the underlying problem as soon as I began to feel the pain (instead of ‘toughing it out’), the incident could have been completely avoided. The straw that broke the camel’s back would have been a mere pin prick in comparison.
Now, I bet you’re not even wondering whether or not this rupture was physical.
I can honestly tell you it’s usually easier to deal with physical pain. It’s easier to identify physical injuries (for the most part). With a bruise, a gash or a broken bone¸ you can immediately do things to reduce the swelling, prevent infection and set the bone to restore itself. But, even in those physical instances, many people who have just learned to endure pain would wait until the absolute last minute to inconvenience themselves or others with restorative measures. In the long run, it makes you more of an inconvenience than if you had dealt with the pain when it was small enough to treat easily.
Whether it’s a splinter imbedded in our skin or a word spoken out of season imbedded in our soul…let’s take the time to acknowledge the pain. Take the pain to someone who can help identify the source of the pain and take measures to remove it. Sometimes that’s a doctor. Sometimes that’s a pastor, a mentor or a trusted friend. Let’s learn to take better care of ourselves, shall we?