Most people have run across CS Lewis’ quote about pain being God’s megaphone. We are risk averse. We don’t really even like to think about pain.
I dropped a roll of (heavy) butcher paper on my big toe. Dumb, I know. The pain was and is intense, binding.
It derailed my plans for a run. This in itself is a sticky issue. Exercise, especially running is my go-to, no-guilt stress reducer. If I could I would eat a lot of chocolate and drink vodka gimlets, but to paraphrase Tobias Funke–I don’t need the calories.
I guess I didn’t need the run.
The truth is my big toe was already a wounded soldier–bunioned, afflicted with frequent stubs, not helped by my penchant for running barefoot and in Chacos. That poor toe was already punished.
I am not really that fixated on my toe. I am fixated on why?
I know God well enough to trust that my clumsy accident is no accident at all. He has stuff for me in the midst of pain. Things like:
Wound care. I wiki toe breaks. Importune my doctor husband. Follow his advice…
Pain management. I take the ibuprofen with alacrity and gratitude. It just takes the edge off. Same with the ice…
Change plans. No run is a bummer. But this also means a real change in my dazzling and exciting plans to work on the exterior trim of our house. I went from looking forward to tackling the high places to envisioning myself doing most of the yard-and-under edges.
The little things. As I said, I was already neglecting this toe. Now I am not. I am grateful for all the thankless weight-bearing it does and very aware of how much I need my big toes.
Need. I am also going to need more help. My kids will have to be my team–helping with all the not-so-fun cleaning jobs.
Empathy.. Most of all I am aware that my small intense pain is nothing compared to the people I pray for–friends battling cancer, families missing loved ones, prisoners in terrible places, women whose lives have been stolen by…it is too easy to say monster.. Too easy to pile a decade of individual blows–each one vicious and deadly into a lump sum.
I would prefer to separate each into a blow of such force that to minimize or forget is to be less human, less alive.
Let us face these terrible things together, these monstrous griefs.