How Pain Can Be Helpful

Have you ever seen a pain-stricken, half paralyzed beached whale try to get back in the water? Whatever image you just conjured, it’s probably just about right for the way I looked this past week trying, with a newly ruptured hamstring, first to get in and then out of the bathtub.

My husband, who had heroically lunged forward to save my skull from fracture during my misadventure with a piece of boiled green pepper on a restaurant floor, heard the thrashing about and called to me asking  if I needed help. Are you kidding? My response was an unequivocal, “NO!”  I mean, really, the bonds of marriage only stretch so far… Just FYI for future reference: Though the idea of sinking into a hot tub, scented with a fragrant bath bomb to soothe sore muscles is usually just what the doctor ordered – this is NOT a good idea for anyone newly navigating the choppy waters of change sans a hamstring…

I’m now that one-in-a-million patient at the Orthopedic  & Sports Medicine Center with an injury normally reserved for 20 year old professional athletes.  And though it’s nice to be the center of attention, this is one spotlight performance I’d gladly pass on.  This really, really hurts!

Without sounding too much like Anne of Green Gables, though I’m grounded—can’t sit so I can’t drive—and am surviving on ice packs and pain killers, I’m encouraged by the sights and sounds of spring all around me.

Agricultural-wise it’s been tough around here this spring. An early bloom of the peach trees in the rural, South Carolina area where I live, ended in an 80% crop failure when a late cold snap dipped temperatures into the teens and froze nearly every blossom.  Likewise, it looked like curtains for my budding Chinese maple.

But wait. Not so fast! My maple is beginning to bounce back from it’s freezer-burned set back with new, green leaves sprouting beneath its amber overcoat.  As it sheds the leaves of March’s mayhem it brings hope for what looks to be a beautifully full and greener than ever show of resilient beauty.  It may sound silly, but that tree has helped readjust my attitude and renewed my hope in the belief that I’ll soon shed these crutches and bounce back from my setback.

I don’t know “why” these things happen.  I only know that God is not the author of human suffering and has promised to work all things together for good for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)  It’s not easy to say or see right now, but I really do believe that in time the God of all comfort, who comforts us when we’re in trouble, will use this time to better equip me to comfort others when they need it.   (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). I also know that I’ll forever wince in sincere empathy and pray for young men and women who clutch at their thighs, writhing in pain on football and soccer fields.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ll be able to stay in the same room as a commentator begins describing the injury…

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Penny L. Hunt

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