This morning, something from C.S. Lewis on the role of pain in our lives (and then some thoughts/questions from me):
The human spirit will not even begin to try and surrender self- will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are, the less the victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil.
Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt… And pain is not only immediately recognizable evil, but evil impossible to ignore. We can rest contentedly in our sins, and in our stupidities, and anyone who has watched gluttons shoveling down the most exquisite foods as if they did not know what they were eating, will admit that we can ignore even pleasure.
But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.
I admit, I’m not a fan of pain. I even take ibuprofen before getting my teeth cleaned, which seems entirely reasonable to me, since someone is going to be digging in my mouth with sharp, pointy objects and making me bleed.
But I’ve learned something important over the years. When there is pain, it is not enough just to treat the pain. My old practice, when I had a headache was to pop as many ibuprofen as necessary to make the pain go away. What I’ve learned is to address the cause. Usually, if I have a headache it’s due to one of two things: poor posture, probably through staring at a computer screen for too long, or dehydration. Now I change my position, stretch my neck, drink some water… and probably still take some ibuprofen.
But now I’ve dealt with the source of the pain, not just the pain itself. What’s the pain in your life right now? And are you just dulling or medicating the pain away, or are you dealing with the underlying causes and making the changes necessary?
Pain has a purpose. It tells us something is wrong. And like a fire alarm, it should be silenced only when we have started to deal with the issue. Food for thought.