Sorry, no hummingbirds today. But you still have my musing, a thought that has been rumbling around in my head for a while but doesn’t fit into the normal story format of my blog. Instead of hummingbirds, today you get pain.
I can only share what I muse upon…
Pain does many things to us, but let’s be honest for a moment and admit something: most of what pain produces in us is not worth repeating. Or maybe it’s just me in which pain mostly results in a string of whines and profanities and pity parties.
One vital thing pain does do is strip us down to the core of our being. We come face to face with a question, and we aren’t able to ignore it any more:
Who are you? What is most important to you?
Christine Miserandino describes why this is in a beautiful way in what has come to be known as the Spoon Theory. If you haven’t read this, you should.
When we are in pain, we only have so much energy to give to our day. We have to decide what matters the most, and do only that. This has been a painful week for me, due to some injuries from my seizures. Amazing what happens when someone the height of the Green Giant hits the deck.
I realized at the end of the day three things matter the most to me. I self-identify in these three ways:
Child of God
Child of God was unsurprising to me. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived the things our family has gone through even in the last year without the confidence that my God is for me, and He is mighty. The same with family. Though I define family a little more broadly than relations by blood or marriage, family means the world to me. Without those I love and who love me, I would be a sad sack indeed.
The last one surprised me though. A lot. Writer…really? But here I am, standing at the highest counter in my kitchen so I can type. Dealing with the pain from an unintentional twist to the right, or an accidental lift of the left shoulder. Because writing is now a core part of who I am.
Certainly pain sucks. There is no way around that. And shame on those who say God brings pain to get our attention. There’s a part of me that would like to get their attention…but I don’t let that part of me out very often (he’s a troublemaker).
But let’s not miss the chance to consider because of pain the core essence of who we are. It just might change the way we view our days once we feel better. I know this is true of me.
Chris – the ones who say that are much like the “if you have enough faith” group that I shared about a few weeks ago. We have pain, we have sickness, we have sorry because we live in a fallen world. But we can be “victims” of our pain and circumstances or we can use those instances to become stronger and move forward. (And I’m sorry you are in pain today. I pray you feel better soon.)
troy mc laughlin
Chris thanks for sharing your heart from a pained six foot seven frame. I’m one, sorry for your pain friend but I am bolstered with hope from your words that were birthed through this pain. Once again thank you for “standing tall” and giving your gift of writing to us. I’m even more blessed to call you a true friend. #dudewriters4ever
I have read the Spoon Theory a while ago and have used it often to explain an invisible chronic illness like Fm/ME. I suffer from this illness. It is excellent in its simplicity. Joni Tada once wrote a devotional that has stayed with me forever. Your post today reminded me of her words. She wrote that only when you squeeze and orange, will you know what the juice tastes like. Well, once you are forced to live “squeezed” on a daily basis, you soon realize that you CANNOT survive one moment without our Beloved Lord Jesus. You know that pretty well, dear friend. Thanks for being such a testimony of God’s love and goodness.
This might be the biggest lesson I have learned over the past year. I cannot own or change my circumstances, but only I can choose how I will respond to them. This response will reverberate throughout every conversation I have with people around me, especially my family
Troy, you are such a huge encouragement to me. Thanks for always supporting me
Any time someone compares my words to Joni Tada it brings a smile to my face. Thanks for the smile!
troy mc laughlin
Absolutely Chris. It’s my pleasure.
Wonderful thoughts here, Chris! I’ve never had a seizure, but I can definitely identify with your sentiments regarding ill health and pain in general. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing this. When I was diagnosed with skin cancer I took a good hard look at what was important. Praying for you Mr. Morris. Thank you for always being honest. You encourage me.
I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, but thank you for sharing your encouragement. I’ve been sick and it’s tempting to wallow. You’re right though, it forces us to decide what’s truly important.
I haven’t heard of the spoon theory. I’ll check it out. Thanks.
Reading your post in pain and tempted to have a pity party about chronic health today. Chris,thanks for sharing so positively despite your own circumstances.
It’s refreshing to hear someone be transparent about their pain. People want to fix people in pain because it causes them discomfort. I have learned to just nod my head and express it. David expressed his pain all the time and then praised God for who He was.
I appreciate the kind words and encouragement
Thank you so very much for the prayers. Feeling more worn down than usual unfortunately.
When I read the spoon theory, it really opened my eyes both for me and my daughter.
Wallowing is easy, and it feels so much better in the moment. Sadly, I am learning it does not accomplish anything long-term…no matter how much I wish it did.
Glad to hear it was received as positive. It was pretty tough for me to write, mostly because I wanted to just cry and whine 🙂
I have people want to fix me and my daughter all the time. I’ve learned to not share it very specifically with most people (he says ironically about the the post he just blasted to the world about his pain).
Yes. A good health scare can shake us to the very core. Hopefully we evaluate & right ourselves.
Hmm, CS Lewis said God uses pain to get our attention, but I don’t think he meant it in the trivial sense that God “back hands” us because we’re not paying attention. After all, he experienced a great deal of pain in his life, so I think he spoke from a sense of personal understanding. I don’t think the idea that God “uses” our pain is inconsistent with your premise that pain reveals to us our core essence, if I understood you correctly.
C.S. Lewis had to watch his wife die of cancer a short four years after their nuptials. I know he spoke from a place of understanding. I forgot he made that comment actually…and I am a bit ashamed, because I am definitely a Clive Staples Lewis fan (no wonder he went by Jack with names like that right?).
My commentary was more to the trite shiny-happy-Christianese that I have had people say to me when they stand back from my life and declare God is clearly doing something, because He is God and He is good. I guess I think people earn the right to speak hard truths to be by being present in my life.
I understand what you mean. A friend was telling me yesterday about the horrible bullying her son, who has Asperger’s, experiences at high school, and her worries about what he will do when he graduates. i told her that I want to believe that God must have a plan for his life, but I didn’t want to sound all churchy–like you said, “shiny happy.” It’s too easy to say encouraging things to people when you have no understanding of their pain.
It is so hard to walk that line Kathleen. It really is. Something I have tried is simply saying, “How can I help?”
That’s why this forum is a safe place to share struggles. People can choose to listen or ignore you. Why did God allow David and others to talk about their struggles to the whole world through the media of the Scriptures? Because it helps others. Right?
I once heard a Christian doctor speaking about pain and how important it is. Without pain we would do terrible damage to ourselves without even knowing it. Pain has a very positive and powerful way of working in our lives if we allow God to use it that way.
That is the hope. Some days, I feel like I walk a tightrope between sharing my struggles and whining. I do hope that you and others will kindly slap my wrist if I begin complaining though.
I agree that we can learn from pain, and that it is a choice. Honestly though, I struggle with the concept of “allowing God to use it” in my life. It’s probably just a verbiage issue, but it has always rubbed me the wrong way to think of God using my pain.
great stuff! i’ve heard of the spoon things but had totally forgotten about it…
Aw, it’s so good. I didn’t want to paraphrase it because I wouldn’t do it justice.