How do you feel about emotional pain? I hate it. I have spent my life avoiding it. Trying to numb it. Stuffing it. Pretending it wasn’t there. Only to have it eventually demand attention at inopportune times. I’m not sure what I was afraid of…maybe I thought I wouldn’t live if I allowed it.
Once, my friend Beth said this to me; “You feel things deeply, that’s one of the things I love about you.” Beth has been God’s voice to me on so many occasions but on this particular day I was about seven months into grieving my mother’s death and I had completely shut down and very nearly locked myself in my house. (I heard my daughter Stephie tell someone during that time…”unless you’re married to her or she gave birth to you your pretty much outta luck.” )
Beth gave me permission to grieve in the way I needed to. Permission to feel deeply and respond to those feelings…even if it wasn’t pretty. Who can blame a person though, for feeling the loss of their mother so deeply and for so long? That’s perfectly normal in my mind. But I have intense emotional pain over lesser things and I’ve always felt compelled to stop it.
It’s been that way lately. Several weeks ago I went downstairs to the room we keep the paper back books that we want to hang on to. I was looking for a book my friend Julie told me to pull out and read, Shattered Dreams. I found it right away but couldn’t make myself stop reading the titles. One by one, squinting, I was searching for a book…which one? I just knew there was another book hidden on these shelves that I was meant to find. Then I read the binder of this book: The Gift of Pain. That’s was it. I bought it years ago because it was co- written by Phillip Yancey whom I adore. I read it but honestly didn’t remember much about it but I’m sure, this day, God wanted me to dive back in.
Phillip Yancey wrote the book with Dr. Paul Brand about Dr. Brand’s life. Dr. Brand was a hand surgeon and leprosy expert. He was the pioneer in research that proved leprosy not only caused tissue to die away but that the loss of pain sensation made patients so much more susceptible to terrible injury.
So there is such thing as a pain-free person. In this book I read how leprosy patients slowly loose the pain sensation. A twisted ankle quickly becomes a broken ankle leading to a disfigured infected crippling ankle when the person feels nothing and continues to walk and run on the affected foot. On and on went the stories of how harmful it would be to have a pain-free life. I have a precious blog-friend, Sara, aka: Gitzen Girl who endures terrible senseless pain every single day, I’m sure this isn’t what Dr. Brand was talking about though. He’s speaking of normal pain responses that tell us when something is wrong.
Having been in “The Fog” for awhile, I have taken this to heart. Not numbing my pain. Not trying to shove it down. Not trying to ignore it. Just kinda leaning into it and letting God show me the way through. This honestly may be the first time I’ve done this and I just wanted to tell you today that it hasn’t killed me. I’m even getting tiny glimmers of joy here and there. If you have been running from some type of pain I pray you’ll consider letting God use it. Like with physical pain, perhaps there’s a deeper issue that needs addressing. Or maybe God simply wants to heal an old wound in your heart.
Whatever the reason for my pain I’m asking Him to show me and carry me through it.
Love to you today Sweet Ones and prayers for your journey.