Grace and Peace to you.
I have a toothache. I’ve been referred to an edodontist. (Isn’t an endodont a prehistoric mammal, slightly smaller than a mammoth?) The pain comes and goes randomly and intermittently, as if every once in a while an endonont is standing on my face. Sometimes it’s nothing and sometimes the pain is vibrant and gripping. If it were beauty it would be gorgeous. But it’s pain. I’ve discovered I can deal with it by laughing. Whenever it starts, I laugh. Deep, spontaneous, heartfelt laughter makes it feel better. But it’s hard work. I have to laugh as long as it hurts. Preferably without crinkling up that side of my face. Which is impossible, which helps, because that’s hilarious.
But it’s still pain. In the end, what you have to do with pain is live with it.
As much as I don’t like it, it’s for the best. Because of this pain I’m more aware of the pain of others—people in physical pain and emotional pain, people with sore backs and broken hearts and gnawing fears. I know how it distracts you, defeats you, tires you. I’m aware of the miraculous gift of my body, that knows how to do whatever it’s doing. I’m grateful for the gift of sensitivity. There are people who can’t feel physical pain, and it’s a real disability. When the pain subsides it’s downright pleasurable to feel normal. I’m grateful for the wonderful gift of feeing OK, and I won’t take it for granted.
I’m grateful for a life that’s wondrous and splendid, and worth living even at the price of some pain. We sometimes think it’s wrong of God to allow us to hurt. We’re so attached to feeling good that we forget that it’s not the most important thing in life. We depend on painkillers. In fact pain is part of the deal. It’s our longing for healing, which is God at work in us. Being fully alive, being sensitive, being deeply present and one with Creation, joined in compassion with all living things, we’re going to feel pain, even sometimes deep, overwhelming pain. But the love is greater. The wonder is deeper. The beauty is worth it. Even the worst pain is embedded in infinite joy.
That may sound glib and saccharine even from one whose face hurts, and who’s been through struggles and lost loved ones. But take it from the one on the cross: the love in this world is greater than the pain, and more powerful, and in the end will win out. Live with the pain, and you’ll find there’s more.
To subscribe to Unfolding Light by daily e-mail write to unfoldinglight8(at)hotmail.com