For the last hour I have endured severe pain. It is what I would describe to doctors as a ten out of ten. It makes me naseous and steals my spirit. It’s the saddest face on what I term the “happy face scale” that nurses give you when you’re laid up in the hospital.
I try like hell when the pain comes to maintain perspective. I try to remember the joys of my everyday. I try to calm my central nervous system with different sensory inputs. I breathe deeply with intentionality. I imagine a meadow and all kinds of other crap that my mind tells me will calm me down. I play a song on repeat, it lulls my cries as I strive hard to imagine my body anywhere but here. I try to trick my brain. I tell it that these are happy thoughts and try to conjure memories of joy. It works for a moment but I am so tired of being tired that my body gives in to the insidious fear.
My breath gets shallow. I start to wonder what will happen to me if this happens to me at work, or during a class I am teaching. Will I keel over, succumbing to pain? Will my body rally? I wish for a fleeting second that I wasn’t alone but then I think that this private intimate moment of pain would be the worst to share. My body, mind and spirit are vulnerable and shaky. You can’t see me this way, no matter who you are, nor would you want to.
My shallow breath turns to deep cries. It is the sound of a kind of mellow drama you find at the end of a film where a true love is lost. It feels so starkly inappropriate to cry out in my room all alone but it’s all my body can do to to let the pain out. I hear familiar lyrics offering me a rhythm I can breathe with…. “Because death is just so full, and man so small… But there will come a time with no more tears, and love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears….with grace in your heart…”
I choose to believe the gentle words despite my pain. I opt for the security of a manufactured idea of love and life and light. I choose to believe if I close my eyes and give my body rest that this too shall pass.
My breathing pattern slows, my eyes get heavy. I breathe through the pain and learn to sleep with it and hope for more joyous moments in my tomorrow. Even if it ends in pain.
Peace and love,