I’ve been taking a break from writing to allow my brain to refresh. It’s been a nice break, but I’m awfully glad to be back among the clackety-clack of the keyboard.
A friend posted a thought on Facebook a few minutes ago that sent me off on a tangent. Since I’m not quite unlazy enough to come up with a wholly original thought for this space I decided I’d just copy and paste my response over here.
His thought was that “sometimes pain is just weakness leaving the body.”
Oh, if only that were so. I’ve come to find that pain is its own language. Like a baby, its cries mean different things. Sometimes pain is weakness leaving the body. Sometimes it is God using your frailty to reach your mind in a previously untapped place. Sometimes it is the mistranslated cry of the heart. One thing I know for sure, now that pain is my constant child. It is not any one thing. It is a whole unto itself.
For decades I was critical of Mother Teresa. Her missions in India believed that pain was a gift given by God to focus the mind on God’s grace. So they let their patients be in pain in order for the nuns–and the patients too, I suppose–to use that pain. I’ve thought it was a horrible abuse of those poor sick people to let them suffer.
I still think that. Because I think pain is something you should never inflict upon another person. I believe taking away someone’s pain is one of the great mercies a human being can do for another. Of course, the removal of pain is never temporary. In the Revelation of St. John, there are four promises given about the world beyond this one. There will be no death, no sorrow, no crying and no more pain. That tells me that, like sorrow and death, pain is one of the last enemies to be conquered. So we can never hope to be fully rid of it, but we can forestall it for a time, help another grasp a moment of peace.
But I do agree with the part of Mother Teresa’s philosophy that says pain is a route to meditation, to focus on God. It truly is. Because there comes a point when your body screams so loudly it forces your mind and spirit to another place. If you are lucky that place is one of brightness and grace.