March 16, 2023
Have you ever seen a person wearing a t-shirt indicating they were in pain?
You know the kind of t-shirt that boldly states the wearer is “Fabulous at 40” or “Fierce & 50” – those t-shirts are attention grabbers, but I’ve never seen a t-shirt that glorifies or brings attention to a person’s pain.
One evening during my husband’s recent hospitalization, I stepped out to get coffee and fresh air. As I was approaching the hospital entrance, an older gentleman was walking out. He stopped me and asked me how I was doing–I was actually feeling a little overwhelmed, but I simply told him I was okay.
I asked him the same and expected a generic answer from him as well.
“Ma’am, he stated, “I am in a lot of pain.”
“Oh no,” I said, quickly realizing how his answer had caught me off guard.
“I didn’t realize I would be here this long today and for me, the hospital doesn’t always make me feel better, but I will be okay when I get home and am able to take my medication.”
We talked for a brief moment and then we both continued in the opposite direction of each other. As I remembered his response, I must admit, he forced me to think of how many people I encounter every day that are moving forward while being in a lot of pain.
Pain does not always present itself in our posture or our position.
It is easy to mask pain by acting like we are okay or even by not acknowledging the source of our pain; however, it is important for us to know where our relief lies. A recent series of personal events in my life has provided the backdrop for this message.
The day we began our Christmas vacation, my husband and I traveled out of town to begin (don’t judge me) our Christmas shopping. We stopped for lunch and I mistepped as I was walking into the establishment. I immediately felt a pain that I could not describe, but I was determined to enjoy my lunch. I sat in the restaurant and elevated my foot on the chair beside me. Every time my husband asked me if I was okay, I told him my foot hurt a little, but I would be okay.
However, I was not.
When we stood to walk out of the restaurant, I could not put any weight on my foot. As I hopped/hobbled my way to the truck, I knew immediately that I would not be able to attempt any shopping that day.
I had to be honest with myself and my husband–this pain was going to derail our plans.
In life, we may experience upsets or missteps that cause us great pain. It may seem noble to say we are okay and that we are not hurt, but that is not truthful.
If we move ahead without the proper support or assistance, we may end up causing more damage than the original injury.
I knew that I was hurt and I strongly believed that if I continued with my original plans, I would be adding more pain to an already painful situation.
I took pain pills and kept my foot elevated, but that night I didn’t rest at all.
The next morning I went to my primary care physician who sent me over to the orthopedic surgeon. After a series of X-rays and an MRI the diagnosis was a partially torn Achilles tendon.
When I arrived at the doctor’s office, his attention was not on any other area of my body, but my foot.
He asked one question that I have since heard from my family, friends, co-workers, and the various doctors and physical therapists I have met with since December, “What caused your pain?”
Although there were several jokes about this “non-athlete” having an injury that usually happens during sports or other strenuous activities, I was simply doing what I do everyday – walking.
I wasn’t running or jumping.
I wasn’t pushed and I didn’t fall down.
I was simply walking.
We are not exempt from injuries as we walk through this life.
We may find ourselves growing painfully uncomfortable in the midst of our everyday routine. We may sustain injuries while simply doing life as we always have.
If this is the case for you, don’t despair!
Identify the source of your pain and be open to the prescribed plan of action.
As I thought about the upcoming holidays and all of the things that were left undone, I began to feel anxious.
I had not purchased a single gift, purchased groceries for the meal I was planning to prepare, I had not baked any cakes, or even began decorating for the holiday.
Before I went to bed that night, my daughter, sister, and sister-in-law had taken everything off my plate. My husband prepared a delicious Christmas Eve meal that has been dubbed our new tradition. And I was able to do something over the course of my vacation that I had not done in a while – I rested.
I spent time in prayer.
I read books.
And I released the pain to my Father.
My friend, if pain has presented itself to you recently, let me offer this word of encouragement: there is healing on the other side.
I don’t know how long the pain will last.
I may not know the source of the pain.
But if you hold on and trust God in this fight, He will bring healing and comfort.
I am a witness.
I found purpose of the other side of my pain, and I believe you will too!
Has pain taught you a valuable lesson? If so, share your thoughts in the comments below!