There are both good and bad aspects of having a degenerative chronic pain condition. The bad part is that… well, one is in pain!.. chronically!.. and it’s… degenerative, which means that the pain increases while the activity that would keep it at bay becomes less and less accessible.
On the good side, it forces me to slow down, to reflect, to be creative in my approach to daily tasks, and lends – I hope – understanding to others in various types of pain.
All in all I’d rather be in pain than to be a pain. And yes, I can say this from sad experience. The days I experience pain – or the fatigue that comes from fighting the pain, which is where I am today – fade into oblivion as life moves on. The days, however, in which I’ve been a pain to someone are quite memorable. And you know, while I’m sorry that the days happened, I’m not at all sorry to remember them. By God’s grace the memory of those days will help me to stay off that path more and more as the future unrolls. This isn’t a maudlin wallowing in the mistakes of my past. It’s a realistic look at the grace which has been extended to me and gratitude for it!
One way that grace has been granted to me is that I can handcraft items that bless others. Not only am I given the ability to do something that helps me to deal with the pain, but that thing which I do creates both beauty and utility for someone else! What a rush! 🙂
On top of that I live in a time when the internet allows me to bless – and be blessed – by people I’ve never met.
There is a bounty of patterns for anyone who wants to make things for others, like this dainty Lace Edged Chemo Cap to help a woman feel lovely and feminine when the mirror shows her a stranger instead of the woman she knows (yes, I know that feeling).
There are more charities – and free patterns to knit/crochet/sew for them – than I can possibly use in all of my “this pain is so bad I can’t even think!” moments! In ways I can’t explain that doesn’t discourage me, but allows me to see that this pain, which seems so all-encompassing when it’s happening, is very, very small against the backdrop of eternity.
So maybe you don’t have a chronic pain condition. Maybe your life is picture-book-perfect. Maybe you can’t relate to any of this. But I suspect, if you’ve read this far, there is some dark note in your life which, in your eyes, disturbs the quiet melody that you call your existence. If so, please know this: it’s the dark notes which give texture and substance to most music… and you are not alone. Reaching out to someone else in a way that’s also creative and soothing to you may just be the lifeline that keeps you going. It doesn’t even have to be handcrafting in the general sense. Maybe “all” you do is write a letter, send a card and/or say a prayer. It still makes a difference.
Or, maybe your life really is “picture-book-perfect” and you’d like to share some of that perfection with others.
Perhaps one of these links, just a few of the many out there, can help you to find your own niche in this great, complex, amazingly inter-related – and, yes, generous – world.
- Chronic pain has a price (kevinmd.com)
- HOW TO UNDERSTAND someone with chronic pain. UPDATE: A reader emails: “I can’t thank you enough… (pjmedia.com)
- Pain Dreams and Chronic Pain (healthmad.com)
- Monday Musings (lllin526.wordpress.com)