I will not deny it. I am a clutz. If there are miscellaneous sharp or blunt objects with any possibility of finding contact with my body all barriers will be overcome. Are there slippery floors? No sign will warn me. Low ceilings? My forehead will find them. Extension chords, puppies, and small children will not be excepted. I will search it out, and I will find pain.
I managed to burn my forearm once again about a week ago. The baker jaket I wear has sleeves that are slightly shorter than my arms, and the mitts only come up so far such that when I reach into ovens or over hot pans there is always a conspicuous display of forearm skin waving about flamboyantly in the bakery world. So over the course of the last few months I have repeatedly burned myself in the same place dozens of times. Ok maybe it was only three times. Seems like more.
But this story is about pain.
I managed to scrape, tear, lacerate, and with all diligence rupture the tender scab that was seeking to work the magic of healing on my arm over the last week or so. On one such occasion I was moving a matress from one room to another and the matress slipped and chewed its way down my arm, not neglecting the burn recovery center midway down. The thing that struck me (right after the grimace and clenched teeth) was the inherent nature of pain as received.
It’s difficult to separate the phenomenon of pain from its causes, but pain, particularly the physical kind, once occuring is an overwhelming sensation that we receive. We are completely powerless when it comes to pain. We have some influence over the means of pain. But we cannot actually stop pain–apart from various drugs– but even those take time to do their work and they serve to sever nerve firings and such. We cannot actually touch the pain and yet it is touching us. Like hot, cold, and joy we seek the means to them, but they are bestowed upon us, we cannot take and hold them.
Pain too is bestowed in the mysterious packages of blood and tears. The point being, as with all gifts, the only response is thanksgiving. The car door slams, and the finger is throbbing. There is of course the natural removal of the finger from the jaws that bit. But what then? There we stand, a tiny speck in the whirling galaxies, and we have the gift of pain burning like a million stars in our index finger. Unbelief calls it a curse, but faith is the insanity to say Thank You.