Encouragement for the Journey 23 September 2012

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey 23 September 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

This past week I have been learning to live with pain in my lower back from a ruptured disc. I use the word ‘learn’ because that is what it is, things I took for granted doing now I find extremely painful and difficult. Pain is a vast subject of physiological and neurological research, with many papers and dissertations written on its causes, effects and treatment. It is sufficient to say that each human being experiences pain from a little baby teething to those of us older travellers who experience pain from diverse ailments of the human body.

Pain is an interesting phenomenon; believe it or not, pain is a valuable gift that we humans have been given. Pain lets us know something is seeking our attention within the human body and psyche. Pain of course is an essential tool for diagnosis and treatment of human disease and injuries.

When we think of pain, we tend to associate it with physical pain; yet, there is emotional pain, especially around grief and loss. Also there is emotional pain that comes with depression and despair.

Generally speaking when we experience physical pain we tend to receive more sympathy and care from others than if we were experiencing emotional pain. Have you noticed how much attention one receives if one has an arm in a sling, say compared to one who is experiencing emotional pain. A person experiencing emotional does not wear a label saying I am in pain. For unless one was is aware or sensitive to changes in a person’s demeanour or energy, their pain would often go unnoticed.

Throughout our life, pain visits us in diverse ways, sometimes the effects of pain are visible while at other times it remains hidden yet still felt, yet always an indication that something requires our attention.

Each person’s response to pain will be very different and for some they have a very high pain threshold. What is so essential and important is to remember that we often never know what emotional or physical pain another person is going through. Sometimes, we have to live with chronic pain and that affects how we respond to life and how others respond to us.

If you are looking for answers to pain in this encouragement for the journey, alas, I have none. It is just a reminder that pain is not our enemy; rather, it is like a text message that arrives requiring our attention.

May you have strength and courage in your moments of pain and discomfort.

Meanwhile Peace in the dignity of difference

Alf