When Everything Hurts

Imagine for a minute if our bodies didn’t feel pain.
Maybe we cut our finger – it bleeds – but no pain is felt.
How unbelievable that would be.

Would you cut yourself again, just to see what happens?
Would you try something more drastic to push your limits?

Several years ago I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and Bone Spurs in my neck.  The doctor said that I would always be in pain and at 31 I was the youngest patient he had ever seen with this diagnosis.  He said I would live in chronic pain but with the right care it could be managed.  However, eventually, I would probably lose the majority of the movement in my neck.

Growing up I had issues with my knees that lasted well into my adult life.  I’ve smashed fingers in car doors, I’ve broken my foot, I’ve dropped heavy objects on various parts of my body.
And my heart… Oh, how my heart has been broken.

All of these things happened to me… and all of these things were coupled with pain.
I felt it.
I experienced it.
I knew it… personally. Deeply.

Acute pain eventually heals and goes away.  We have a memory of the pain but, the pain itself doesn’t persist.  We stub our toe, it hurts, but one day the pain is gone.
Like it never happened.

Chronic pain, however, is long term.  It is masked by medicines and management but never fully extinguished.  Dealing with this incessant nagging of your nervous system is not only exhausting but it also heightens your sensitivity to pain.
It lingers.
It’s haunting.
It’s toxic.

500 years ago this nation partook in acts that would lead to chronic pain.
Civil injustice began a spiral effect of hurt.
We cut ourselves – we bled – but initially we felt no pain.
So… We kept cutting.

The thing with not feeling pain is you can’t tell where the problem is.
You can’t determine how to stop the hemorrhage.
Eventually these acts result in death.

50 years ago we began a process of pain management.
We realized that the acute pain we once felt was now turning into something more substantial.  We were experiencing a more chronic unfolding of the side effects.  So, in the midst of the pain we decided to medicate it; cover it up, be numb to it.  Just try to keep it together.  With the right care it can be managed, we thought.

But, today…
The chronic pain persists and our sensitivity to the pain is almost too much to take.  We feel the pain now, but we wish we couldn’t. We are weighted by the bad report and we struggle to see the bright side.  The toxins are in our blood stream.  They are filling our lungs.  We are suffering so much we can’t tell where the source of the pain begins.

We unload the weight of these troubles with every bullet with fire, with every word we speak and  with every punch we throw.
So, we pour out our pain when we spill someone else’s blood… With the hope that someone, anyone, can see us… see our hurt… feel our pain.
We seek some relief, some escape from the torture of the never-ending struggle we  have become so use to.

The hurt we thought would eventually leave has now become a contagious virus.  It spreads quickly and like wildfire.  It burns out of control and consumes anyone that gets in its path.

But it can also be stopped, remedied, just as easily…

Hate breeds hate.
Hurt breeds hurt.

but…

Love breeds love.
Forgives breeds forgiveness.

Why live in pain of a diagnosis when there is a cure?
Why stagger through life covering up the pain with medication that eventually wears off; when the hurt can be permanently removed from your body?

We beg everyone to change… to be different…
But, the change can’t be forced on someone else.  The change starts with you… with me…
and it spreads like a virus.
It washes over and consumes those in its path.

We will always feel the loss, the scars, the phantom pains of something that use to be where now there is nothing…
But we cannot subdue or remove that pain by causing more.

We have to be strong enough to repay hate with love and anger with kindness.
We have to be honest enough to admit that our hearts are broken without attempting to break someone else’s.

We have to decide we want to be part of the answer instead of part of the problem.

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