Monday, February 28, 2011

Back Snap

Although this is generally a blog about Christian service, I am writing about yesterday's rather revealing life experience to encourage my own humility, compassion, and empathy for future reference.  As I was getting ready for church, putting on pantyhose no less, my hands seized and I felt a pop just below my right shoulder blade.  I couldn't move, couldn't breathe, couldn't call for help.  There I sat, immobilized, in excruciating pain.  When the worst had passed I managed, with effort, to get to my feet and make my way downstairs, sending the family off to church. 

Most of my day was spent enduring spasms while lying on heat and ice. The rest of my body was pain-free, but I couldn't get my focus off the sporadic schisms that stabbed from my back through to my sternum, creating some kind of muscular knot.  I did wonder if the Body of Christ should respond to a wounded member with this kind of extreme focus, but more than that, I wanted relief.

Later, much later, I remembered last week's Bible lesson on suffering and was mindful that in discomfort I really didn't care--or want to care--what God had in mind for that moment.   Hadn't we read Scripture and discussed how God allows suffering for His glory and our good?  That we are to endure and bear up under it, dependent on His grace, exhibiting the character of Christ (Hebrews 12:1-3, 1 Peter 2)?  Quite honestly, that was the last thing on my mind.

The take-away?  No matter how much we know or how much God has taught us to rely on Him, each of us is one hundred percent human.  There are periods and circumstances when all we can do it hold onto some form of life and sanity, praying for light at the end of the tunnel.  My pain became bearable within a short period of time, but there are others--many others--who suffer chronic illness, pain, family situations, and life circumstances that cloud all but the most immediate.  It was a brief lesson in empathy...and I'm chronicling it here in hopes it will not soon be forgotten.

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