Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Post about Pain

Do y'all ever have those seasons in life where you are SO efficient? Working out, eating right, reading rather than watching gobs of TV.....blogging regularly. Well if you've ever had those know they always come to a subtle stop...and then you are suddenly missing the balance, but at a loss of how to return to it.

Fall is tip-toeing in. I hear its whispers in the chilly breezes and bask in its familiarity. I love fall. I love that it is such a stark change from summer. It causes me to wriggle and adjust a little, notice changes, wonder a little.

It has been a rough few weeks. Well, truly months and years, but these last several weeks were just the icing. A 3 inch long abnormality on my dad's colon wretched a heap of fear so tight in my gut and sucked all of the surety I felt in routines. We are not quite beyond the horizon of those two lovely words, "not cancerous," but we are close and I am feeling quite humbled.

That little gremlin of fear on my shoulders made me ask, "what do I do when pain is real and moves in next door?" Where does the gospel fit into long term painful things? When a moment of peace matters, but is just a band-aid. And I'm not quite sure how to answer all of those questions. They kind of came to an abrupt stop when release from the fear came and things started looking up. But while they were halted for a bit, I want to return there, maybe on a not-so-personal level, but to come back to the neighborhood. Where does the ever so present reality of pain fit into some broad resolve of hope that comes with the Gospel.

And I guess that only in my life is it a broad resolve. Only in my life is hope a few and far between need. I can escape the necessity for it most of the time because of comfort. But the past few months I haven't been able to. In a long season of watching my family go through hard things and being able to do nothing more than to rest in hope that this is the most beneficial thing for them. I've learned how small a part my actions play and how necessary my love and belief for my family has had to be. And I'm sorely imperfect at it. Fumbling and tripping over my selfishness and anger towards watching people I love tire out and give everything, but wanting so badly to think rightly of it all.

Sitting here though, with a 10,000 foot view of things, I see that although this season is an anvil on my family, the breaking of our backs being necessary. When it comes to approaching hurt, I dismiss almost immediately the people who chock up hurt to "growth". That seems so medial to me, so small and absent of depth. Especially the long-term stuff. How does one think that weeks and months of hurting can be summarized as purposeful by one word? Because honestly, I don't care if I grow from hurt. I care that I have something to anchor me. Some hope. The purpose of this has something so much heavier and more important than me attached to it.

While I have been thinking of this in terms of my thoughts, my reactions, my feelings, I just have landed on the conclusion that the temporary-ness of this matters. But it is just that, temporary. I reserve the right to feel as deeply and harshly as I do about it, but to come by it honestly. To acknowledge the incompleteness of this. The injustice. The hurt. But only through the lens of my Father being the complete end.

As I'm piecing this out I find myself back to the knowledge of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts that "all things are grace because all things can transfigure". I need to be reminded that however real and present, pain is transformable. Deeply and metamorphlsically transformable. I learned this week that how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly by not only cocooning itself, but in that cocoon the caterpillar-self actually breaks down completely and creates the butterfly-self through the complete rebuilding of its enzymes and cells. The chiseling down of my self-righteous perspective that I don't deserve pain, and the rebuilding to a new perspective that allows room to see things outside of myself. To trust more beyond my circumstances to Father who knows my best good, and the weight of what true goodness is.

May I never forget the fullness of my Father, the tangibility of His hope, and the reality that all things are able to transfigure. Because that is my anchor. Whenever I do get the 10,000 foot view of things, I see it. I see that I am the one who is skewed in their thinking and that the Father's purposes are always the same. I just pray I can see it better on the day-to-day level. That it doesn't take 2 months between my sitting and thinking this through to get back to that reality.

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