Friday, August 5, 2011

#24 He Recognizes True Pain and Perseveres Through

While writing and later reflecting on my post of the continuous transformation of character I face with my hunger demon, I couldn't help feeling how absurd it truly was. I feel I may have presented it as an affliction, and by affliction I mean something that pains me, something I suffer from. And while it may be true that this may be a psychotic issue I have that I cannot resolve (after all, someone's mood being affected to a point where they go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde can perhaps only be labeled as psychotic, or chemically unbalanced at the least), please know for sure I suffer from nothing. I have no pain in my life.

A few years ago I wrote this as a reminder to myself of a true lesson of pain and perseverance. Enjoy!

Having your wisdom teeth pulled is not usually a time in a person’s life when they are given a great epiphany. Yet, for me, that whole horrible experience provided a new outlook on appreciating the simple capabilities that we possess.

By my second day of recovery, I began to realize how easily the ability to chew food is taken for granted. I soon grew frustrated with the fact my stomach was never full, aggravated with the limited selection of food: ice cream, yogurt, and mashed potatoes, and restless with each inconsistent night’s sleep. It didn’t take long for me to begin feeling a lot of pity on myself and start singing that all too familiar tune, “Whoa is me!” Yet, while my flesh was aching and screaming out how unfair this pain was, I could not completely meditate on these feelings without the thought of my Aunt Linda, who endured cancer of the tongue and throat. Within a year of being diagnosed, she was unable to speak or eat. She had to be fed through a tube and had to write down anything she wanted to say.

During my oral recovery, I was on the couch more than 75 percent of the day. I skipped Sunday morning church, avoided two dinners at my parent’s house due to not wanting to smell food I could not eat, and cooked one pathetic meal for my husband. This may seem normal and acceptable. Most people do not expect someone in pain to be serving others, or to give of themselves in the least. Yet when I reflect on this time, I am surrounded with constant shame of my self-pity and drama over my short loss of the ability to chew food, sleep through an entire night, and have a face that is not in constant pain.

Even while my aunt was experiencing the worst of her cancer, even days before she passed away, she was constantly moving, constantly serving her husband and those around her. She had to be rushed to the hospital many times because of blood loss, yet days later she’d be home baking cookies or home-made bread for her husband to take to work. She died right before Easter of 2008, yet had plans to cook a feast for her husband and children. She felt much more pain than I ever experienced, yet did not let it get her down. It did not change her character. She did not allow self-pity into her mind.

She had to endure smelling food she could not eat and writing down words she could not say, but she never complained. It would have been so easy for her to tell her husband that she couldn’t cook for him and didn’t want him to eat anywhere near her. No one would have looked down on her either if she had chosen to lie around on the couch all day.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of taking the easy way out, of making your problems bigger than they are. Think about the healthy wife who refuses to cook for her husband because she, ‘just doesn’t feel like it’, or the healthy husband who uses a sick day to lie around the house and milk a mild cold. Think about when we complain because it is left-over night and old spaghetti is on the menu, or when we avoid talking on the phone with someone we can’t stand. If all our abilities were taken away, we’d give anything just to be able to serve our husband and cook him a meal, just to be able to work one more day at our job, just to be able to eat a left-over meal or just to talk to someone we can’t stand.

Aunt Linda was a true inspiration of what it means to persevere and endure. Although I am far from being like her, I aim to have half the strength that she possessed. I want to look at every hard circumstance I am faced with and see the good I can bring from it. Each day I want to recognize the simple abilities I have been given such as my health, the ability to talk, the ability to eat, the fact that I have two arms and two legs; and never take them for granted. I want to see pain as an obstacle for me to overcome, not something that I will allow to overcome me. I want to greet each day thanking God for another chance at life, another chance to make a difference in the world and try my best to be an imprint of Aunt Linda for all to see.

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