DJ Kreger is my 39-year-old son, who has ankylosing spondylitis. You don’t want to get that. It’s a painful and cruel form of arthritis, and it’s a life-changer. I’m using his post today to point that aging often comes packaged with pain. Pain is often unavoidable. We all need to learn how to deal with it.
I watched my husband endure indescribable pain two years ago after surgery to repair his broken heel bone. It was awful. As the tears rolled down his face, they rolled down mine as well. There is no more helpless feeling than to know you can do nothing to alleviate someone else’s pain. Terry dealt with his through complete and utter reliance that God was with him. He moaned in prayer as each wave of pain took hold of him, then braced himself for the next one that he knew was coming.
We each react to pain differently. Knowing that God is there through the pain is invaluable. Did you know that the word excruciating comes from the same word as crucifix, cruciform, crucify? It describes the pain that comes out of the torture of crucifixion. Since I learned that, I’ve been pretty careful about applying it to my own pain. I don’t think it rises to that level.
Pain is my constant companion. It wakes me daily. It slowly grinds away at me, trying to make me bend, trying to make me break. Every movement is influenced by the disease creeping through my bones and tissues.
But it makes me aware. Pain makes me think. Pain makes me plan. Pain makes me adapt. Pain makes me desire – to fight, to win, to never break.
Pain can only change me if I let it. If I think of it as an evil, then I give it power. If I think of it as a punishment, then I weaken myself and have failed already. If I think of pain as the victor, then I am desperate, and fall victim to my own fears.
Pain simply is. And I must endure it. I am thankful for it, because it has given me an opportunity to become more.