Many of you have expressed the desire to take away my pain and tonight I would like to cry my way through an answer to that particular sentiment.
I understand the wish to protect. I have children, I was married, I know what it’s like to want to protect those we love from the pain and agony this world has to offer. But I’m coming to a deeper appreciation of the Lord’s omniscience in creating pain.
Pain is a warning signal. If you are playing with fire and you have no sensation of pain what does this say to you? Either you aren’t very close to the fire or your body is not functioning properly. Leprosy is a disease that removes the sensation of pain (or any other sensation) from our body’s vocabulary. Consequently, those that are inflicted with this disease are unaware of when they have inflicted a wound on their person, thus unaware of the need to protect and care for that wound.
Pain is also the oposite of pleasure. Someone who has never seen a body of water will have no appreciation for an author’s description of the ocean. Someone who has never lived on the streets will never have a full appreciation for a warm and stable home life. Someone who has never felt pain can not appreciate the true sensation of pleasure.
I have occasionally lamented my fairly high tolerance of pain. I only used pain medicine once during labor (Benjamin), I rarely use anything for headaches, I almost always have a bruise somewhere that I am totally unaware of where it came from. These instances are not bad things in and of themselves, but they also mean that pleasurable sensations are often not noted as well. I rarely feel the brush of my children’s hair, can never remember feeling the softness of Dan’s breath as he whispered in my ear, and I’m sure there are a few other pleasurable sensations that I have missed out on simply because I wasn’t even aware that there should be a sensation.
What I am trying to say is, please don’t feel sorry for me because of my pain. My pain is a gift. It means that I have had pleasure. I have had pleasure in the arms of my husband, lover and friend. It means that I have had something of great value to lose. It means that I have been blessed. It is also my warning signal. It means that something has happened in my life and that I need to take the time to grieve, to heal. It means that I have a wound and that I need to be seeking the Great Physician.
I am not sorry for my pain. I am sorry for my loss and in that comes pain. Thank you for your desire to protect and shield, but as a mother I am fully aware that to protect and shield my child from all pain would be to destroy my child and I sincerely doubt that any of you wish this leprosy on me.