I believe in taking a moment to enjoy life’s pain.
Life is… complicated. When I was younger I hated smashing my fingers between pads on the football field. It hurt so badly. I hated being thrown down on the wrestling mat and crossfaced to the side. I hated spinning so many times on the throwing pad in track that the blood would pool in my hands and throb for hours afterwards. I hated not being able to sit and slide into my seat after hitting the squat rack hard. And the funny thing about all of this – no one forced it upon me. I chose to do it. I chose to participate and work out. It hurt, but it was a good hurt.
I also chose to get in a fight with my good friend Frank. We did all three sports together. We thought we’d try out boxing as well and bought our own gloves. We were on our way to my house where the gloves were at when we got into an argument in Ethan’s back yard. On my way out I let a mean name slip and he called me on it. Frank swung first but I got him back. Several blows later I found myself down on all fours in horror as I frantically searched for the bottom half of my tooth that went flying from my mouth. I knew from all the blood that my bottom lip had been cut pretty bad. With the tip of my tongue I could feel the fatty bubbles that layered the inside of my lip. My parents weren’t home and I couldn’t drive so walking was the only choice. I went alone to the hospital and called down my older sister. Frank was later brought down because he had cut his knuckle on my dirty mouth. When I saw him I hated him. How could he? The Christmas song “My Two Front Teeth” really hit home. Stitches, endless needles, a root canal, several temporary crowns, and six months later my smile was finally restored to normal. I hated that. It hurt. It was embarrassing. I didn’t want to ever have to go through that again!
In the depth of my self-pity I wondered if it would ever end. How much worse could it possible get?! I couldn’t think of anyone who had suffered this much anguish! But then it came back to me… church stories about Christ suffering for our sins AND our pains. Truly He knew what I was going through… He had been through it all before! I didn’t smile, but I did feel much better. I knew that I had no right to complain, but rather should have been grateful. I had tasted just a portion of what was suffered before.
After being stitched that day in the hospital, I found Frank being cleaned up in the other room. I walked in slowly, not knowing what kind of reaction to expect. He looked at me with the same type of uncertainty. I gave him a half hug and asked, “are we cool?” He smiled and said, “yeah, we’re cool.”
I can now momentarily appreciate physical pain and affliction for what it is – a temporary pain that I know will someday go away.
So, enjoy the sniffles and take a moment to appreciate how little you really have to suffer.
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