…on smiling when your heart is breaking…

Virginia the Blogger has been busy the past few weeks pulling Extra TLC duty for her precious Mama who is suffering from Excruciating Pain (the nerve kind that totally wipes you out.) Usually my feisty Mama zooms around in her wheelchair (‘tis often hard to catch up.) Occasionally she needs a ‘Be Nice to Her Knees day’ (ice-packs inclusive with her loving daughter to assist.) But now she needs help with Everything: getting up, getting down (carefully), getting around, & getting to those pain meds on time.

…& your Blitzed-Out Bi-Pap Breathing Machine Night Monitor is up at all hours not just for Papa, but for Mama, too. 🙂   (yaddi dadi dah – Zombies of the World Unite!@!) Zombie Virginia wrote the following last week &, well, not much time to format pics, so here you have it, a few rough edged thoughts on smiling & PAIN MANAGEMENT.

It’s hard to smile when you’re in pain. I know my last post of Mother Teresa quotes focused on smiling (reminder to self: SMILE! : )  Methinks she knew something about pain (of all shapes & sizes..)

That’s fine, you may say, Mother Teresa is a SAINT (!!) she got that smile thing going with extra Heavenly Graces.

But in the depths of sleep-deprivation doldrums, neck pain, kidney stones, pain in general (broken hearts inclusive), when even the deepest, darkest vat of chocolate will not take the pain away (altho as a temporary fix it can lift spirits a little!) how (the heck) is it possible to smile?

(& that I should want to? smile? exactly, you gotta’ be kidding..)

Physical pain is, well, PAIN (note the capital ‘P.’) It hurts! Unfortunately Calamity Virginia knows a bit too much about this kind: back pain from falling down a flight of stairs 20+ years ago, ankle pain from fracturing both ankles (multiple times), nerve pain from misbehaving neck discs (pre-&-post surgery), pain from misbehaving knees post-post surgery & more recent kidney stone pain (busy internal factory manufacture rate = TOOO HIGH..)

Then there’s pain of the heart – from the loss of a loved one, or a broken heart when a loved one turns out to be a Beanhead (or Beanheadette.)  It hurts, sometimes much worse than physical pain.

There’s pain we suffer for others – the pain of helplessness when facing daunting odds (disease, bleak opportunity horizons, poverty, conflicts.) More heart hurt(s.)

Stuff happens!  or not.. it’s also painful when our hopes, dreams & aspirations are dashed to dust… or when we wait.. and wait… & God doesn’t seem to hear our VERY fervent prayers (the ones we pray on our knees?)

Sometimes when life is hard smiles are miles away from our hearts & joy, well joy seems like an intangible impossibility (for REAL!) Our hurt is just Too Big. Our pain is Too Deep. Joy seems overrated. No sunshine squeaks through our dark clouds of pain.

But God is bigger than our pain. His love goes deeper than the darkest drain in our hearts. Not in some sentimental sappy way – but, for REAL. God is with you. And Me. And those who are hurting. The warmth of His sunshine lifts our spirits (ok, so sometimes God doesn’t take the pain away – it’s still there: PAIN … but His Heavenly Sunshine dissipates dark pain clouds with grace to COPE WITH THE PAIN.)

As you face whatever pain (literally) is lurking about your life (& heart), ask for God’s grace to help you cope.


…it may take awhile, but as you feel the Smile of His Love for you (even amidst those excruciating pain bursts)… your heart can smile in faith-filled assurance that He WILL PROVIDE the grace & gumption to face the next minute, hour, day of pain, even if it is a bit messy.

Love, afterall, is a messy business (triple diaper changes, ‘hanging in there’ when our loved ones mess up, tending our precious ones battling disease… losing those dear to us…) just as life can sometimes be messy.

As God loves us in OUR messes – so too, we can love others in & through their messes… (first letting our own broken hearts open for business again, maybe after a little mending? the ‘please help me, heal me, oh Lord kind?’)

In the dark harshness of life, God softens our hearts with His Light.  Believe it (or not) even when we’re in pain (& life is A Mess) He shines through us.

Maybe we can’t save the world (the whole world, anyway), but we can do our part to share a little Light – make that special meal, clean up that mess, share that advocacy piece (for peace!), give a little extra from our safety stash, Try Not to be So Grumpy to our loved ones (or co-workers) when those pain bursts hit high decibels (or tireditis hits new lows) Sometimes the best way to help others is to first Take A Nap!

… & Smile.  It’s a good place to start

(It’s amazing if you smile at soldiers, a smile that says God loves you? even pointing that uzi at me? sometimes they get distracted why they’re pointing the uzi in the 1st place – & put down their guns … so it worked a few times for Virginia the Relief & Development Worker in Conflict Zones…other times ‘twas good to seriously frown & … PRAY LIKE CRAZY! : )

… or even smile in the grocery line? When you’ve been waiting for eons (Wal Mart comes to mind… grrrrr.) Those grocery line workers could use a little smile amidst their challenging jobs & the other grumpy people in line? Maybe they’re in lots of pain (or maybe they’re just RUDE…whatever… saying a little prayer for them can’t hurt.)

We CAN smile in the knowledge that God loves us in our pain. Yep. That’s a twister when we’re busy asking “why God? Why me?” (…& revving up Mercy, Mercy prayers when kidney stone or heart pain hits) … but if we stop & listen a little (‘tis hard when pain pounds out most everything in us)

…When our hearts are breaking & our bodies are wracked with pain…

(crying bucket loads, trying not to drown!)

… our spirits don’t need to be weighed down with frowns…

… we can REST in the knowledge that GOD LOVES US…

…God loves YOU…

…God loves ME…

…we can (try) to love each other…

…(or at least smile)…


 “I am only one but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something; and though I cannot do everything, whatever I can do, I will do, so help me God.”   Edward Everett

grace, peace & Pain Management

Virginia : )

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16 Responses to …on smiling when your heart is breaking…

  1. John Paine says:


    Wow! No words, except “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

    • Virginia says:

      Thanks John, for all YOU do & for all your help with precious Papa’s computer! (especially the Really Cool New Monitor )
      lots of grace, peace & smiles – Virginia : )

  2. Cindy Kranich says:

    I’m with John…no words seem adequate to respond to such a deep sharing right from the heart. Your sis loves you and my heart is breaking too as I watch from the sidelines and am helpless hours away to do anything tangible to help but pray. But pray I am and with all the fervor Markus and I can muster. We love you so much and are grateful you and Dwight are there with Mom and Dad, loving them thru the pain. Will keep praying! Your grateful sis, Cin

    • Virginia says:

      CINDY! Your prayers are making such a difference – thank you (!!!!) .. & yesterday Mama received the very precious card from you & Mark that lifted her spirits… We love you & are praying so much for YOU in the new place, new job, new everything (uh, except Mark.. the two of you now qualify as ‘married a Long Time’ : )

      grace, peace & hugs – gL : )

  3. Mark says:

    Well said, VL. Spirit-imparted grace is the key whether He delivers from or through the trials. Will pray with Eph 3:20-21 and 2Co 4:7-12 in mind. Thanks.

    • Virginia says:

      Thanx for those verses, Mark! 2 Corinthians 4 has been a favorite passage for eons that continues to take on deeper meaning(s)… and as Paul says in Ephesians, yes, GOD IS ABLE to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think as His power is at work in us… amen! Thanks for your prayers & the beautiful card+ note for Mama!

      grace, peace & Encouragement – VL : )

  4. lisa loden says:

    Hi Virginia,
    Ok so my prayers will be multiplied for you and your mama and papa. My heart is reaching out to you and hurting for you and your special parents. I don’t think you know how much you impact my life with the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord – always. I will especially be praying for you on Tuesday and Wednesday as this is yom kippur and we don’t do anything but pray, pray, pray.
    All love and blessings,

    • Virginia says:

      Lisa, big blessings to you on this yom kippur as you pray, pray, pray! Thanks for your prayers (!!) as we know how good our God is (all the time) – El Shaddai, all-powerful – & that includes dispensing grace to the Worn Out (me!) and the Hurting (my Mama & so many others…) My heart goes back out (& over) to you, Lisa, for your example of Faithfulness, Joy, Peace & the Love of the Lord that has impacted me for so many years (last week found the pics i took of you & David & Bishara & Ranaa’ at the BBC!)

      grace, peace & prayers, prayers – Virginia : )

  5. jaymers says:

    Virginia, you are too much sunshine to the square inch (that’s a whitman quote, I think). I do wish God would grant you and your lovely parents peace, love and pain management. Hang in there, and thank you for sharing this.

    • Virginia says:

      Jayme – love the quote (must find a pic to demonstrate that one!) …& appreciate the prayer for more peace (i usually add patience as that can increase the peace factor, considerably…) Working on the pain mgt – it looks like Mama’s new meds are doing a Bit Better (relatively!) It is just so doggone hard to see her suffering (!)

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! means lots…
      grace, peace & square inches of sunshine (!) – Virginia : )

  6. Carol-Jo Osinski says:

    Thank you Virginia…praying for you and your MoM

    • Virginia says:

      CAROL-JO – …thank you & thank you & thank you for Your Prayers(!)

      Please know that you are in OUR prayers as you celebrate & commemorate the life of your precious mother – her zeal for life, her energy, her love. May she truly Rest In Peace… & may your battered heart find peace as you place your sorrow in the pierced hands of our Precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

      We love you, Carol-Jo! (Lots. Of. Love. From all the Woodwards)
      grace, peace & prayers – Virginia :O

  7. Thanks for this insight Virginia,You are an awesome writer ,and an inspiration I am so blessed to know you and your Family!!! You all are in my Prayers daily.

    • Virginia says:

      Thanks for your encouragement & prayers, Ray… & thanks for being Papa’s ‘Catfish’ & your faithful ‘downfield blocking’ getting so many of his projects into the End Zone (!blocking in the smiley-Ray-Way! : ) We are so blessed to know YOU. Words are not enough…

      grace, peace & Catfish(ies) – Virginia : )

  8. What a sweet treat to find you here. Your words and work are beautiful. I am so glad we crossed paths in Bethlehem long ago. I remember your Halloween party in Bethlehem, funny! — thanks for making me feel so at home in that tough place. You are amazing. I will try to keep up with your blog.

    • Virginia says:

      SARAH! So good to hear from you & i, too, will never forget the amazing times in Bethlehem. Yes, that Halloween party was loads of fun (bobbing for apples? costumes?) but i am so grateful to you for your friendship that made a tough place more bearable… Blessings to you! VA: )

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