I’m not really someone to initiate chats about pain level. People ask me if I hurt, I say, “Yep.” When they dig even deeper and ask, “How much?” something along the lines of, “Quite a lot” comes out.
Though the words were rarely spoken, my parents taught me not to become a servant to my pain. However, they never sounded that poetic, but that’s half the joy of this being my blog. Anything gets to be poetry when I want it to be poetry.
But I digress…
Pain can’t be what I think about first thing in the morning. When I walk from A to B, the random twisted ankle, pinched nerve and sore hip will often times make me grind my teeth (I know, bad habit… bad habit) and whisper the only thing I can get out prior to coffee:
One more day, Lord. Please. Just let me get through one more day.
Pain happens. But joy doesn’t have to end. Living doesn’t get to stop just because my body likes to scream for no reason. I often chuckle when an elder looks at me while they “crackle” standing up. They usually say something like, “Enjoy being young, Hun. Someday your hips will sound like mine!”
I may or may not whisper under my breath, “Sweetheart, I’m already there.” But, like everything else… That depends on the strength of my filter system.
Because I try to keep life as normal as possible despite the pain level, I rarely see my stubborn self through the eyes of a loved one. That changed the other day and I’m not sure I like it.
I’d been having small seizures off and on for a few hours. One friend started connecting the dots (annoyingly) and started doing the only thing he could do. Ask questions. Apologize for the pain. Check for the worst.
…I blew him off. I tried to be loving about it, really. But Dude, I’m fine. Tell me you’re there and change the subject. I’ll be fine. My name’s Cass, I’m in Indiana and Barak Obama is the president. See? Brain works. Change the subject, ignore the pain in my voice. I’m fine.
Instead of being impressed with my strength (hahaha!) and changing the subject, he blew up.
“Cassie! Let me love you, gosh darn it!”
Wait. What? You need… Oh.
Vulnerability. Friendship. Reality. Right… Vulnerability terrifies me. Pain gets ignored because I don’t want anyone to know when I’m really breaking down.
That night I learned a lesson I pray I’ll never forget.
Sometimes, vulnerability, with those you love, is an act of service.
Sometimes, that act is merely so a friend can feel as if they really are sharing the load you’re carrying.
In Christian community, we’re not supposed to do this alone. I’d even venture further and say that if we attempt doing life alone… We’re sinning.
The thing that hit home for me that night was after I broke down and explained my fears… My friend moved on to a different subject.
But we both understood life a bit better because we were finally doing life together.