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Pain. It doesn’t discriminate. It attacks the old, the young. The male, the female. The rich, the poor. The Olympic athletes, the lazy bums.

Sometimes it comes in waves. And just when you think you’re feeling better, just when you think you’ve made it through into greener pastures — it hits again. And hard.

And sometimes pain is constant. Don’t know if this is better or worse than the waves. At least you’re just “in it.” It’s always there. You always feel it. It become a security blanket — albeit a very painful security blanket.

Why does pain exist, anyway? Why didn’t God just create our bodies, our hearts to never feel pain? Constant happiness doesn’t sound that bad to me.

Pain, as I see it, exists to let us know something is wrong, something is out of place. Like that time my brother’s (now ex-) girlfriend purposely tripped me on the basketball court during summer church camp. She was obviously jealous of my mad athletic abilities. Then just as my face was about to hit the asphalt, just as I was about to yell a bad, bad word that would’ve landed me in big trouble with the camp counselors — I heard a crack.

Broken wrist.

I guess in two pieces is not how wrists are meant to be. So my body kindly wanted to tell me something wasn’t right. And the pain set in. Quick and fast.

And today, I’m reminded of that “accident” — (yeah, right.) — as I sit and wait to go to the dentist’s office. Why? You guessed it. Pain.

I had some dental work done a while ago that has turned into a living nightmare. I’ve been back to the dentist at least five times to “fix” the issue, though it never seems to get resolved. How do I know? Well, the pain is still there. A constant, throbbing, annoying pain. Lower right jaw. Causes headaches and sheer frustration.

I even trekked out to my doctor last week because the pain had traveled up to my ear area and I thought I had an ear infection. She checked me out but — to my (un)surprise — no infection. And right there in my doctor’s office I held my fist in the air, let out a grunt and muttered, “Dang tooth!”

Today I want to get this fixed once and for all. I want this once-cavity-now-bane-of-my-existence to stop thinking it rules my mouth, my body. I want to put it in its place — as a food chewer and nothing else. So I’m off to the dentist’s office — a place I used to not mind going, but now really, really, really despise. And I wonder, as I brush my teeth incessantly in preparation, are you feeling any pain today?

Is it constant? Or does it come in waves?

Is it in your head? Your body? Or worse, your heart?

Wherever it is, it’s trying to send you a big message: Something is wrong. Something needs to be fixed. And, sadly, the one who experiences the pain is usually the one that has to do something to fix it. (How unfair is that?)

Are you feeling pain because you haven’t spoken to a family member in a long time? You’re estranged. You’re hurting, and perhaps they are, too. But regardless of who did what, who deserves to receive the call first — the pain won’t stop unless someone takes that first step. Would you let that someone be you?

Is your heart hurting because you’re in a relationship you know is unhealthy? Constant bickering, abusive language, [insert unhealthy behavior here]. As much as it’s scary to be alone, somewhere deep down you know that you’d be better off without him or her. Would you take the first step to end it?

Are you in pain because a loved one has passed away? Because your children are rebelling? Because you lost your job? Because you’re single and wondering when your time will come? The list goes on…

Pinpoint where your pain is coming from. It’s useless to treat your ear if the problem is your tooth.

Then do something about it. Even the smallest action in the right direction is a big, big step. Pain isn’t always a bad thing. It can get us on a better path. It can actually help.

It’s just the absolute pits when you’re going through it.

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18


P.S. I’ll be trying out a new posting schedule to see how it works. Expect new posts on Mondays and Thursdays each week!