Hello again friends! I had been working on another, much different blog post for (far too long if you ask Tom),  you but as I sent the following letter to my beloved aunt and uncle regarding another family member, I realized that I needed to share with you the actual letter I e-mailed just this morning as many of you may feel the way my relative does. I have blocked out his name because I did not ask permission to share about him- but feel free to insert any name in place of those X’s, perhaps someone you know who suffers from chronic pain or illness or possibly even YOUR name!

Dear Aunt and Uncle,

I was thinking about what was said about XXXX  hating his pain and as someone who suffers from chronic pain, I wanted to share with you my thoughts.

“XXXX hates his pain, but he is so used it his is not sure he wants to give it up.”

I don’t hate the pain that I have. I don’t like the way it affects my life, and I think of it, and have referred to it quite often, as a bully that pushes me around; but I don’t hate it. When it’s not around (those rare occasions) I feel like something is missing- not that I MISS IT (miss as in long for it like a lost love) but have the feeling of “so something is different- something is off- what is it? OH, NO PAIN- THAT’S what that odd feeling is!” Perhaps that’s what XXXX means when he says, “he’s not willing to give it up”.

I would also like to point out that my pain is VERY unpredictable, and XXXX’s might be too.  I’m often asked by my doctors if it’s worse in the morning, mid-day or evening. I cannot say because there is not a pattern or cycle to it. No apparent rhyme or reason that I can pinpoint for some of its “attacks”. I will cry out involuntarily( and embarrassingly I might add) as I get a shot of pain and call FOUL!  saying aloud to no one I particular- “that was unprovoked and unfair!!” As odd as it sounds to people who do not experience chronic pain, I am more comfortable with the consistency of it, rather than not knowing when it will strike.  Maybe XXXX is experiencing this kind of “comfort” in pain. Seeing as pain comes in many forms, dull-achy, sharp and shooting, throbbing, and numbness to name just a few, I never know at any given time, what to expect. Sometimes I liken living with pain to the 1960’s movie the Pink Panther. The French detective Clouseau (Petter Sellers) lives with his manservant Cato (Kato) Fong. Cato has been instructed by Clouseau to attack him unexpectedly to keep him alert, vigilant and his combat reflexes sharp. At times, my pain is like Cato, lying in wait and ready to strike at any moment, when I least expect it. Given a choice, as odd as it may sound, I prefer the constant nag of dull pain to the unexpected sharp (Cato like) stabbing pain. Maybe XXXX feels the same way?

I have asked (many,many) times for it (pain) to be removed from my life, but to date, it has not been allowed, so I ask God for the grace to accept it. I ask Him what He wants me to do with the affects of pain, and thank Him for opportunities to share the AMAZING things He has done in my life as a result of the pain, and in spite of the pain.

I thank Him for the the grace to deal with pain.
I thank Him for the humility He has taught me as a result of living in chronic pain.
I thank Him for the compassion for others He has instilled in me because of pain.
I thank Him for the understanding of His amazing creation- the human body- that He has given me as a result of the many doctor’s visits, procedures and surgeries I’ve had.
I thank Him for the knowledge of the human body He has given to the talented doctors who care for me and for the medical technology that is available at this time in our world, to help me achieve a level of comfort that makes my life- well- livable!
I thank Him for health insurance to cover the costs of the many surgeries, procedures and medications I have needed in my lifetime.
I thank Him for giving me the eyes to see another side of life that so many are unable to see because they are so busy and preoccupied with life.
I thank Him for teaching me not to take ANYTHING for granted through this life of chronic pain and illness. Each day, each step, each breath… I have the unique opportunity to share with others what a GIFT these things are that most of us take for granted.

I have met MANY people with chronic pain and illness who are MISERABLE! They can find NO VALUE in having pain or illness, in going on (living) each day. They are depressed, joyless, full of blame and miserable to be around. God gave me the eyes to see this in others and showed me that I had a choice. I could choose to be miserable, or I could choose to live in joy despite the pain.

I choose joy!

I guess, in a nut shell, what I am saying is that I can’t hate my pain.  Could I have learned these lessons other ways- I’m sure! Can God heal me- most certainly! Is He using me through these trials- I like to believe that He is.

So, despite experiencing pain to some degree, in some part of my body, every day; I can say without hesitation- I do NOT hate the pain I feel- I thank God for it!

Those are my thoughts on pain and I pray that XXXX would be able to move through HATE to a less destructive understanding with the pain in his life.

All my love,

In closing Dear Ones, I encourage you to take a step in the right direction, find great pleasure in doing what pain says you can’t- give thanks in all things, even pain!