I Believe in Pain

Linda - East Lansing, Michigan
Entered on February 25, 2008
Age Group: 65+
Themes: illness
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in pain. I have had many different types of pain throughout my life–the pain of childbirth, the pain of a sprained ankle, the pain of a good workout. But there is one pain that has visited me again and again for about 30 years–the pain of migraines. For several years, I didn’t know or didn’t want to admit what they were, but the pain interrupted my life frequently–sometimes two or three times a week. The duration was generally short, and I ressumed my life the next day. However, as the migraines have intensified and lasted longer, my life began to be shaped by them. There are many foods I cannot eat, many activities I cannot do, many times I need to stop and withdraw. I believe this pain to be overall good for me–most of the time. I can empathize with someone in constant pain. I can put aside things that are really not important. I can reach out of myself at times when it hurts to even think. I don’t do these well all the time, but I try. In the New Testement, the Apostle Paul shares that he pleaded with the Lord three timese to remove his “thorn in the flesh”. The Lord’s response was that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Cornithians 12:9) All these give my pain some sort of purpose–the Lord’s power, empathy, reaching out of myself.

I have tried five different prescription medications, several over the counter medicines, homeopathic remedies, and natural producuts. But the migraines still come. When they do, I still care for my three young children; I still reach out to friends and family; I still cook dinner.

Now, after three or four days of a migraine, the pain will slowly depart and leave me with a sense of sadness. When this does happens, I believe in thankfulness. When I can move my eyes without pain, I am thankful. When I can bend over and kiss my children on the head without pain, I am thankful. When my nausea is gone and my body can regulate its temperature again, I am thankful. When I can gingerly step outside into the sunlight and not repel with pain, I am thankful.

I do believe in pain, and I believe in the thankfulness that follows, for what choice do I have but be thankful?