Today it has been tough going. I woke up in pain from my right shoulder (the one I injured two years ago). This happens to me from time to time. It starts as a stinging ache and builds to a burning background roar. From past experience I know it will continue all day. Maybe it will travel to my other shoulder. Probably it will go into my wrists. I can still move, still talk, still do everything like normal, but slower and more haltingly.
On days like today I start off with an Advil. But like today, it usually doesn't help. So I take another a little bit later. And often still other until the pain is dulled to a whisper. I don't go to the doctor. What will she say? "Take an Advil", probably. There's nothing actually wrong with me. The pain will be gone tomorrow or maybe the next day. But for today it's here, distracting me. Occasionally I will forget about it and then wonder why I am on the verge of tears. All day I am on the verge of tears.
It's so tiring too. And it's hard not to get snippy or short with my children. I haven't today and I'm glad for that. Of course they'll be home soon. And there's a chance I'll get that way then, although I always hope not, always try not.
The pain makes me think of other people I know. People with real illness, real disease, real pain. A friend with rheumatoid arthritis comes to mind and I pray for her, glad that she has medicine that helps her condition. My fingers go cold and then numb from pain shooting down my arm and I think of someone from church battling a crippling, life-threatening disease. I pray for him, for healing, for mobility.
It's a hard day, a tiring day. I'll be glad for tomorrow. I'll be glad for the chance to wake up pain free. But I'm also glad for the chance to learn a little more compassion, to see a glimmer of what others go through day after day, to pray a heartfelt prayer for healing and comfort on someone else's behalf. It's a hard day, but not a wasted day. And when the next day of pain comes for me I hope that it will be profitable too.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5