leprosy, and what I’m learning about pain

{I realize that for so many people, chronic pain is a terrible battle. I know people who struggle with it, and what I want to say before I dive into this little bit, is that I am recognizing my place in this conversation as a person who has been dealing with a lot of emotional pain. What I do know, is that pain can be debilitating. Especially chronic pain. So as I write today, I am speaking to things that are a bit more temporary in my timeline, and more precisely, my struggle with pain.}

I love the resilience of human beings.

Especially in the face of depression, anger, and sadness.
It’s the thing that no one sees. The hard things that we hold inside, that we hide for the fear of looking weak.

I’ve been thinking on pain, lately. Because certainly those things inside turn to pain, and can turn hard like a callous resisting another pressure. A broken bone can heal, though it will never be as it once was, and the same goes for our nature. Those of us who have been through pain, know what time can do. It heals. It helps us to move on. But in the words of Ben Folds, “Time takes time, ya know?”

While I was in India, I read a lot of Philip Yancey books. He was a very influential dude to me during that time, especially the book he wrote with Dr. Paul Brand about leprosy called “The Gift of Pain”.

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This basically took everything I knew about pain and turned it into something entirely different. How leprosy didn’t cause the horrendous wounds we see with a person who has such an affliction, but the lack of nerves. A person with leprosy will walk their foot to the bone and not know because they cannot feel.

So all of a sudden, this burden of pain became a gift.

The fact that I could feel, and even if that sensation was pain, it was something.

It could maybe be diagnosed, but I could certainly look at it. I could pinpoint what it was that hurt. Once I could see it, I was able to start healing. Much like noticing a cut on your hand, I started the process of what it would look like to fix myself.

I’ve come to very loose terms with fixing. I realize, more and more things will never be the same. Each day, you take from the one before, but it shifts.

I guess, what I want to say, is that recognizing pain is hard to do sometimes. The feeling of impending doom sometimes makes our spines shiver, but it is then that we can start that process. Start digging out dead flesh to reach the nerve.

And that’s when I recognize the problem of pain,

is actually a gift.

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