Give us this day our daily pain

Bromeliad in green and red. Text: Any purpose to daily pain? Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

WORTH OFFERING UP IF YOU’D GET RID OF IT?

Some days, if I squint at the daily/morning skeletal pain and muscle pain, I can call it the result of not stretching, or even ‘stiffness’ or ‘mild joint pain.’ synovial fluid in the joints needs to get moving, and the joints themselves have adhesions – everything’s, scientifically speaking, gummy.

Some days it’s worse than others. I don’t like it, but I can handle it.

But this morning, while resting in extension (like the Sphinx) on the floor, I was marveling that I’d never noticed that ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ from the Our Father has one of those little cross-linguistic glitches – the word for bread in French is pain.

No rhyme or logic to it, just a noticing.

The saints offered their pain up.

I’m not saintly or heroic, but I can do the same thing, try to handle every day with as little medicine for pain as possible (to ease the load on liver and kidneys in getting rid of the byproducts). I can ignore some of it, and a special seat cushion takes the brunt off, but there is usually enough left to be, well, significant. Too bad, and I say, “The heck with it!” and try to find something that won’t leave me groggy but will reset the brain.

Above that level, there is the way it takes over, and you do nothing else until stretching, isometrics, yoga, and chemicals are allowed, even if I end up not being able to think.

I feel for my friends who live with a lot more than I do – I had that experience as a side-effect of the various cardiac meds: every single one of them raised the pain to the I can’t think of anything else because I’m dealing with pain level. Glad the new cardiologist decided the benefits, if any, weren’t worth the consequences. Not that I would take them now, but it does help to have at least one doctor who’s okay with that; really reduces the stress.

I don’t understand offering pain up.

I’m not good at those theological bits. I don’t believe God gives other people pain or suffering that is waiting for me to offer my pain to be removed. But pain does teach you a lot about self-reliance, and getting help, and the limits of what you can take and do. Many people reduce or ignore what others magnify. I don’t see the point in taking on more just so you could offer up more. Seems like there are no good limits on that.

I do offer up acceptance and patience and such. I don’t ask Why me? because the answer is Why not me? if there’s going to be any at all. Not often, anyway.

I’m scared it will escalate – and I won’t be able to do enough to ameliorate it to the bearable level. I don’t think I’ll get rid of it any more – it’s too constant a companion.

I’m a wuss: I offer it up, but will do everything possible to get rid of it – at the same time.

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5 thoughts on “Give us this day our daily pain

  1. joey

    I like Marian’s take on this. Do what you can to make it better and offer up the rest. I’m no martyr! I just don’t know anyone who’s not living with pain. I know many people who live with more pain than I do, and many more who live with less pain than I do. (I speak of physical pain.) We all do what we can.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      When your pain keeps you from getting anything done, especially thinking, it is irritating to also have to consider whether your liver can handle the meds, or your stomach behave itself. Everyone has to deal with that part, but the younger and healthier can do that more easily.

      I used to have a ‘cast iron stomach.’

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  2. marianallen

    I think that’s what you’re supposed to do: use the God-and/or-man-given remedies available and, what can’t be assuaged, offer it up. Not to buy your way out of some of purgatory, necessarily, and not to relieve others’ pain, but just because it’s something you have. You offer up what you have, joy or pain. I think.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I think attitudes HAVE changed – excessive zeal from some previous century’s saints has been deemed excessive by the Church. Not judging other people and their times, but not carrying with us some of their worst practices.

      “Offering it up,” without making a rational attempt to deal with it first, is too hopeless. God gave us brains.

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