“Love your enemies.” Ahh! Enemies give rise to lots of feelings, but love is not one of them. When confronted with an enemy, emotions like contempt, irritation, frustration, loathing grip me and hang on like blood-sucking leaches.
In April of 2011 an enemy moved in with me, just crawled into the same wee shell that I have occupied all my life and took control. I have been anything but hospitable. I have railed against it and I have used all my creative powers to try to evict it but it just clings tightly and refuses to leave. My rival is named “Pain”.
Pain has patiently waited while I have ranted and raved and berated it. It keeps whispering, “You cannot harbour feelings of animosity and feel content and at peace at the same time. I'm not going anywhere. We could be much happier in these cramped quarters if you would accept me, submit to my wishes, be merciful to me, hold me and cradle me.” So here I am, slowly peeling off the leaches and cradling my adversary.
Sometimes I foolishly try to elbow pain out of the way and regain control of my body. Pain screeches, “Oh no you don't! Remember! I'm in the drivers seat now!” Pain allows me to give what I can and no more. I am learning that I am not Superwoman and I am not indispensable. Other people are very gracious about fulfilling the tasks that I have been used to doing and they can do them well. Many things can be left undone and the world still rotates on its axis.
But I loved doing all those things I used to do in my old life. It grieves me to give them up. Pain compels me to learn that clinging to what was is counterproductive. With every end there is a new beginning. Embrace the new.
I'm reminded that any control I may have deceived myself into thinking I have in this life is very precarious at best. Every earthly comfort or pleasure could be blown away in the blinking of an eye. I'm learning to cherish the blessings that are mine at this moment, knowing that they are fleeting.
Where would I be without corporate worship? Some Sundays I look around while we sing songs like “How Great is Our God” or “Be Still My Soul” and I see so many people who have suffered disappointments and grief in their lives that make my problems seem comparatively trite. Watching these people of faith while they sing humbles me and gives me the strength to flap my wings and soar above the clouds.
Pain has given me occasion to reflect on how blessed I am to be loved by others. Sometimes having Ed hold me and cry with me has been just what I needed. Invariably when I'm tempted to wallow in self-pity one of my sisters phones me. We chat and laugh and I find myself perked up and ready to carry on. My children have always been ready to pick up the slack when I need them. My friends have sympathetically listened to me grumble without judging either Pain or me. So many people in the medical profession have gone the second mile for me. Thank you for loving me.
With pain comes hope, hope of reclaiming my earthly body and hope that one day I will go to live with God. When I get to heaven God will embrace me in His arms and say, “There, there! Its all over. You are with me now and all the pain that comes with living in a mortal body in an imperfect world is done.” “Therefore I do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though my outer self is progressively decaying and wasting away, yet my inner self is being progressively renewed day after day.” II Corinthians 4:16. Thank you God for the lessons that come with Pain.