broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rough days

Dear fellow travelers,

Today is a rough day. When the weather takes a turn for the worst so do the pain levels. My body –like many of yours - becomes less responsive to what I want from it. It’s harder to move the wheelchair, especially on carpet, and harder to move when I need to adjust my position. And as the joints begin their unrelenting downward spiral of pain I’m reminded that there is a reason we call this state of being “broken”.

For the longest time I tried to explain what was going on inside. People who live with only occasional pain don’t understand that it takes an enormous amount of energy just to stay sweet when the pain is constant and merciless. I was reading a Times magazine recently (in a doctor’s office, no less) and I came across an article on chronic pain that began with a short explanation that I wrote down and have shared with those who ask why I tend to wear out toward the end of the day. It was written by Claudia Wallis, and it goes like this:

“Chronic pain is a thief. It breaks into your body and robs you blind. With lightning fingers, it can take away your livelihood, your marriage, your friends, your favorite pastimes and big chunks of your personality. Left unapprehended, it will steal your days and your nights until the world has collapsed into a cramped cell of suffering. And it takes more than a prescription pad to really bring relief.”

That is the best explanation I’ve ever read, and I pass it on to you in case someone asks you, or, unfortunately for some of you, berates you, for needing to take a rest or a break, or wonders why you are not able to do what they want you to do at 8 PM.

My friends, I have no great answers, only this truth – if you are anything like me, the sun will shine again and the good days will come back. Psalm 30:5 says "Your weeping might last all night long, but don't be discouraged for joy comes in the morning" (PDV) Hang in there. Be encouraged even when the pain is trying to rob you blind.

I leave you with a few lines from my favorite poem, “Don’t Quit”:

When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill
When the funds are low and the debts are high
When you want to smile but you have to sigh
When pain is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit!

Hang in there, my friends, for joy comes in the morning!


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