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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Pain – Theoretically Speaking

[The Lord] heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds. (Psalms 147:3 NIV).

Today my friend Marvin Sweat (a 92 year old Methodist minister) and I had breakfast as usual on Saturday mornings at Kissin' Cuzzins. Like every Saturday, it was a love feast. Today I saw several people there from work, and Ronnie on her leaving came over to our table and hugged me. After breakfast Marvin and I left in my car. The tank was nearly empty, so we headed to Sam’s Club to get gas. I pulled kind of close to the pump so had to maneuver a bit to get out of the door. Somehow in the process I closed the car door on my thumb where metal meets metal. A sharp pain immediately followed. My thumbnail turned a dark blue, and it throbbed with pain.

Call me nuts but I think this incident—on the heels of a love feast imbued with its warm glow of endearment and laughter—came as a wakeup call to remind me that all in this world is not sweetness and light. Real, unadulterated pain exists both mentally and physically. I thought of the Boston bombings and all the pain that caused. It is my opinion that the bombers were high-flying young romantics who in their view saw only the grand, detached gesture—they completely discounted the real, prolonged, and intimately inflicted pain that would come days on end with torn tissue, ligaments, and shattered limbs. It is my firm belief that we should always consider the wide human vulnerability (which impacts each one of us) to indulge in unreality. How many times have I made some sweeping grand gesture that completely discounted the pain that would result? Perhaps it was a self-righteous vote I cast, or some oratorical flourish spat out, or an intentional turning away, or some set-in-my-ways opinion. My prayer tonight is that my throbbing thumb will insinuate itself into my long-term consciousness as a lasting reminder that bliss in this world is certain to be offset by pain—most especially when I would deny pain’s very existence.

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