|Posted by Joan Zabelka on October 22, 2011 at 2:15 PM|
Pain is a different lens through which to view the world. It is amazing how it interferes with and clouds our view of life.
It might help at some point in our discomfort, to look at the message pain sends us.
I love to think of metaphors when dealing with dis-ease. I believe discomfort on many emotional and psychological levels eventually manifest in some form of physical discomfort. No, I have no explanation for children with cancer or other traumatic illnesses. I am simply offering a point of view on dis-ease on an everyday level.
We use body metaphors without even thinking about them some time, yet they directly relate to physical response to feelings. How many times has someone gotten under your skin and you have developed a rash, hives, acne? Kidney or bladder problems? Who is p*ss*ng you off? Heart issues – is a person cut off from love or does a person love too much and let others suck the blood and life out of them - anemia? Headaches – too much thinking on problems we cannot solve because we really have very little control in life. There are so many more – perhaps a future blog discussion.
In late August, I opened a body, mind, and spirit center, Soul Proprietor. I am the sole proprietor and it is very scary to stand on my own. I jumped in guided by grace, not a business plan. Here it is mid-October and there are some nasty metaphors rearing their ugly heads and manifesting physically. Recently, I developed some painful back/sciatica issues.
This back injury has invited me to look at past patterns in my life during moments of change. “Change” can be as big as changing a job, separating from a partner or as simple as deciding to begin an exercise program or finally tackling the basement. My past pattern was: decide on a change, enter into it gung-ho, then within a week end up in bed with strains, flu, migraines, etc. Once on the injured list, I tried both ways to get back on task - either pushing through the pain or resting until I had felt better. Nothing ever manifested a completed project.
Something in me did not want to face the change, the possible consequences, and the responsibilities associated with changes in the past. What if I changed jobs? There would be no turning back if the new place did not work out. What if I lost weight? I would never get to eat a cookie again. The tasks were usually daunting enough, but they would never end, once they began. Taking to bed and suffering seemed the easiest out.
This time did not seem like it would be any different – I am laid up with sciatica. I cannot ignore it. It is not fatal or life threatening. I am just in pain all the time. That pain makes me feel sad, useless, and angry. I kept wondering why this pattern was occurring again especially at a crucial time when I needed to be at work.
The other morning I woke up frustrated and aware of a meeting I needed to attend that day. Traveling there would be painful, but the worst part was that I did not believe I could walk once I was there – I can barely make it to the kitchen. Lying in bed, I prayed – a loud, wailing, (I am ashamed to say) blaming prayer. I felt abandoned by God, thrown to the wolves of defeat. (Yes, I am a drama queen when it comes to pain.)
I worry about my business if I cannot get to work. I was ready to call the landlord and say, “Take back the keys, obviously God didn’t want me to do this after all. I am done. I do not know what I will do now, and frankly, I do not care.” Oh, I did carry on…
At one point, I remembered a C. S. Lewis quote "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” - The Problem of Pain.
All the time I have been in this state, I have tried to put it in perspective. My injury is not life threatening. Friends and relatives are going through chemo - that is suffering and pain on a completely different level. Their suffering is with cancer; mine is with fear of living a dream come true.
I am ashamed of my behavior towards God. God has given me a chance of a lifetime. I am afraid. I do not know what I am doing half the time. I am not a businessperson. I am a timid person who finds self-promotion very embarrassing. I am someone who would rather be sick in bed than to face the world. (I know by know you are wondering if I'm the right person to run a body, mind, and spirit center. "Wounded healer" is all I can say in my defense.)
I am a person who blamed God for who I was and the fates that befell me. I cried out to God on Wednesday morning, “Why? What do you want from me? What am I supposed to do? What is the point of all this suffering and sending me back to square one?” I screamed and cried until I was spent and then I was quiet.
Quiet for the first time in days…
It was then, in the silence, I heard the question asked of me, “Joan, what do YOU want?”
“What did I want?” In the silence, my soul listened. God asked a question that needed a truthful, answer.
What did I want? Did I want the easy life – of crawling back to bed? Could I really be excused from the school of hard knocks? Did I want to succumb to the “me” that the world and I created – the “me” who lived in fear? Or was I willing to try to live the “ME” created and gifted in God’s image? I realized recently that there is a “me” that the world and I created and a “ME” God created. (More of that in another blog.)
The pain I am suffering right now is just another lens through which to view my life. I need to take care of it on the physical level. The healing metaphor is about supporting myself – though God has sent me many earthly angels to support me on this venture.
I have to learn to stand on my own two feet. I can. This time, I will continue with the change and trust the outcome is worth the struggle. God spoke to me through that huge megaphone – pain and I am grateful for the grace to listen.