I had a big day planned, but pain took it all away. My wife and I were going to have a nice lunch with a writer friend of mine and her husband, then have dinner at my parent’s house with my niece, whom I haven’t seen in a year and a half.
But my back went out, and I’m in so much pain I’m having trouble walking. I slept 3 hours 15 minutes last night, broken up into two fitful chunks. So not only was my amazing day taken away, but I’m miserable.
Ask anyone who has had the same experience and they’ll tell ya it’s difficult not being depressed and TICKED off when pain keeps you as its prisoner!
Nobody who suffers depression can deny that anger is its younger, out-of-control sibling. No one who deals with this on a daily basis will ever disprove to me that exasperation and fury are the inbred cousins of chronic, debilitating pain.
It’s not just about how you’re feeling, but about what the pain has taken away, and what it will not allow you to do.
Interestingly, studies indicate learning to manage anger may actually lower the intensity of chronic pain. Others have argued the two aren’t related, but due to laughter having medicinal properties, which has not only been documented, but was first mentioned in Proverbs 17:22, then why couldn’t it go the other way?
If a positive attitude has positive physical effects, why wouldn’t negativity have a negative effect on our bodies?
In my ministry I talk a lot about chronic pain, but honestly, my level of agony is normally low compared to how I feel at this moment. Every day I try and help those who feel exactly as I do today, so in a weird way, I’m glad the Lord allowed me to experience this stark reminder of just how desperate, downtrodden and infuriating debilitating pain can be.
It just takes your whole life away. Pain haunts you at night and oppresses you in the day.
So what are we to do?
Well, it sounds uber-kooky but I’m trying to have a thankful attitude. The fact is we’re here, we’re alive and we can still be a light shining in the darkness, even in our weakness. We can still encourage and help others.
Can’t get out of the house (like me today)? Give someone a call or send a text. Ask them how they’re feeling, and let ’em vent if they need to. Post a funny meme or video, to try and get the laughter going. Instant Message someone and tell ’em you’re thinking about ’em.
The point is, when we’re struck down physically, one of the most effective means to retaining good mental health is to move beyond the boundaries of our limitations. Look past your own pain and try to help someone else.
Even if you don’t (yet) believe in God, that’s just good karma, my friend.
That’s what I’m doing right this very second; instead of crying into my Grape Nuts I’m taking time to let you guys know I love ya, and am prayin’ for ya. Don’t let chronic pain blind you to all the good you could still be doing in this life, even if you do feel like crap.
Anyway that’s how I see it.
Here’s a nugget of wisdom from the New Testament:
“He helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others who have all kinds of troubles, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.” (II Corinthians 1:4)
Stop trying to be the center of the universe and realize life is about giving, laughter and love. Use what you’ve been through to encourage others to keep going.
That’s one of the keys to legitimate, lasting happiness.