Someone once said, “Pain & suffering are inevitable; misery is optional.” ‘Tis true, methinks (unless you’re suffering from kidney stones when misery is a sure thing.)
Still, misery can be a choice. Which means not being miserable is also a choice.
Sometimes a bit of suffering enters our lives & disrupts things a little. Other times, WHAM, suffering grinds us into bits. Whether it’s physical pain, heart pain, life pain – pain, is, well, PAIN.
It hurts. A lot.
Take physical pain, something with which your humble blogger is (unfortunately) well acquainted. Falling down a flight of stairs in university (back injury for life), falling up a flight of stairs on the first day of new job as a 20-something, fracturing both ankles (multiple times), dislocating a knee (out dancing), breaking a collar bone, undergoing neck-fusion surgery for misbehaving discs (NERVE PAIN!), knee surgery (and on & on) + multiple kidney stones episodes (Virginia’s internal manufacturing plant did not get the memo to cease production!) And, the newest challenge the past four months: Plantar Fasciitis (in both feet!) I am not a pain weenie (see previous list) but this has been painful.
foot torture physical therapy sessions, trying to do what helps the pain (not much.) Even after blissful ice-numbing propping ups, feet are still needed to move – ME – from one place to another.
Which causes THE PAIN (again.)
Physical pain tends to make me grumpy. I pray extra hard for the grace to cope & not mope (must Be Nice to the Savvy Saints – my parents – even as I hobble to help them.) Still, battling the grumps is also a choice. (There’s also the challenge of tireditis, as pain grinds our bodies, minds & spirits down.)
OK, so physical pain is HARD, but methinks even more excruciatingly challenging is Heart Pain: when our love is truly trampled, our dreams dashed to dust, or we suffer the loss of dear loved ones. When love is gone & life seems empty (an emptiness that keeps on breaking our hearts…)
Then there’s that despair inducing life pain from Detours, Disappointments and Dead Ends. When heart grumbles jumble our minds with ‘what if’s?’ ‘why me?’ ‘why this?’ ‘why now?’
Pain. Suffering. Misery. It happens.
…So, misery is optional, how exactly?
1st- Whatever our pain, we can look around. Beauty may not take our pain away, but it can certainly lift our spirits.
2nd – We can lighten up. Laughter may not be the cure for what ails us, but it sure can ease the grumps & make our pain load a bit lighter.
3rd- We can let go & let God do something new in us. Through us. Fill the empty places of our hearts & lives with grace (lots) & love (lots) & mercy (lots.) Let our pain draw us closer to God.
4th – We can let our hurting hearts listen: Thump. Thump. Thump. Particularly today when we commemorate the Sacred Heart of Jesus, hear His Heart expand for us:
Love. Love. Love.
That special healing kind, that transforms the dark nights of our hearts & minds into brightest day. The kind that blossoms love ANEW. Hope ANEW. Even, joy ANEW.
In this life, pain & suffering are inevitable, but misery – it’s a choice (especially not being miserable.)
It’s not easy – with body aches, heart aches, life aches.
But… possible, if we let the love of God touch us in all our achey-places.
grace, peace & pain management
Virginia : )
Oh Ginny Lea…………………. I hadn’t realized all the painful things you had endured and now this! 😦 UGH.
Thanx so much, Mary! When wallowing in self-pity after dislocating my knee as a 20-something (ie, couldn’t go out? on a Friday night?) i realized that my challenge was temporary, but Papa’s was/ is permanent. woah. All that ‘i can’t but He can’ hit a bit closer to home as i realized how tough it would be not to walk… & now, not to move. Egads. But he’s the real deal (ie, God’s poster guy of Grace-in-Action!)
Lots of love to you & Dave! GL : )
Praying for dear Virginia I have missed your blogs…
Carol-Jo! Thank you so much for your encouragement (& the lovely card this week that was a real spirit-lifter-upper!) You are like the Tulip Tree blossoms pictured above.
grace, peace & Encouragement – Virginia : )
You are an angel!!!
Amen! I had an arch strain two years ago, and hobbled for six months, at times with extremely sharp pain. I finally got some help from a podiatrist in Williamsburg, and thankfully it disappeared. Arthritis keep me from sleeping most nights. But then I see what other people are going through, and how they handle life’s challenges and it enciurages me. Thank you Virginia for being such a great encouragement to so many of us! I’ll pray that things get better soon. God bless!
Oh John, OUCH! that sounds really painful. This week my PT referred me to Dr. Mark Gardener since (esp the right foot) is not getting better. Hopefully, this will get sorted! Arthritis… more OUCHes. Mama suffers so terribly from that, but she, too (like Papa) emanates grace. ‘Tis a miracle she took care of Papa for 30+ years with so many physical challenges herself… but as Papa says, looking back, she would say, “I didn’t but God did…”
Thanks for the prayers – so very appreciated! Along with your encouragement & faithful service (despite your pain) for the Kingdom.
grace, peace & inspirational motivators – Virginia : )
I echo these affirmative comments–you are such a blessing to so many. The Lord has certainly given you a high threshold for pain. I remember the extremely painful episode of throat abcess on top of mono your first year at UVA and you took it in stride. You’ve displayed much courage, like returning to Africa post neck surgery in a neck brace never considering the option to quit the world relief work to which you were so committed. You are amazing Ginny! Will continue to pray for healing of your feet. Much love, Cindy
CIndy – oops, forgot about that one (after falling down the stairs 1st year- mono, 2 emergency surgeries, pneumonia etc.) I was 5’9″ & 85 pounds (but had so much fun putting back the lost weight with Shere’s cooking in Eliz City later that summer!)
Thank YOU for all your encouragement during all those painful episodes, especially after the neck surgery when you came back to TZ with me to help for a month. Will never forget God’s grace (& love) in you & through you not just then, but over & over & over again these many years.
Thanx for the prayers… & know that my prayers have been going up for YOUR back (must say that rating pain – next to kidney stones – the back pain by far was the most extreme, ever. like someone putting a knife in my back & twisting it.. AUGH!)
lots of grace, peace & HEALING – Gin : )
Lots of good memories, Ginny, amid challenges. Love you so much! Cin 🙂
Pole Sana Rafiki.
By the Grace of God you will be healed and forget all the pains.
You are just so special in your Positive Thinking and that gives lessons to all of your readers.
Just catching up on the posts I’ve missed, and I’m sorry to hear about your feet! I pray that there has been some healing sent your way. I’m hoping that by now, this pain is a thing of the past for you. Happy summer!
I like this: “We can lighten up. Laughter may not be the cure for what ails us, but it sure can ease the grumps & make our pain load a bit lighter.” But geez, V, that’s a lot of physical pain for anybody!