This was a rough week.
If you have chronic pain you know what I mean. I’m not talking about a stiff leg or a headache that is cured by a dose of ibuprofen.
I’m talking about not being able to turn my head to one side.
I’m talking about a headache that lasts over 11 hours and makes you nauseous all day.
I’m talking about not being able to hold your coffee cup due to cramped fingers.
I’m talking about feeling alone and terrified inside a body that fails you on a regular basis.
I’m talking about not wanting to smile or talk because it takes effort.
I’m talking about wishing your family would stop talking because the pain is loud.
I’m talking about pain.
A long-time friend asked if we could have coffee together one morning this week and I was elated to schedule that appointment! But then it started. Twitching in my shoulder. Fingers acting a little cray-cray. A twinge of pain up the back of my head and down the front of my face. And boom. Enter debilitating headache stage right. The morning we were supposed to have coffee, I couldn’t turn or tip my head to one side – and I was late. Typical. My pain even robs my ability to be accountable and reliable.
I showed up, and was uncomfortable, but glad to see her face. And after about 10 minutes the coolest thing happened. I was so engaged in our conversation that I didn’t even realize I was talking and laughing and … I forgot about my pain. It was still there — I still couldn’t turn my head! — but I didn’t CARE that it was there.
Our laughter overshadowed my pain.
My toes locked up while we were laughing — so I stretched them. I had nerve pain down my arm and back while we were laughing — so I changed positions in my chair. We sat so that I could turn my head and talk, no big deal.
I know what you’re thinking, “but my pain is SO BAD that I just don’t even want to go see friends!” and let me tell you that I have sang that verse so often that I had started to believe that I am incapable of keeping my friendships alive. But that’s all pain talking.
You are not your body, you are the living soul inside of your body.
You are not what your body is or is not capable of doing.
You ARE a good friend because you care, not because you can or can’t take someone a meal.
Get up. Take a shower. Make your bed.
Then call a friend and strike up some laughter… it just might overshadow your pain.