Maybe you’ve heard the saying. Maybe you’ve seen it on a t-shirt. Coaches shout it to their exhausted players in the middle of a hot, hard practice. Parents use it with their kids who complain about homework or chores or any other difficult task they don’t want to do.
No pain, no gain.
Most of us don’t like pain. Whether it comes from soccer practice, mowing the grass, or getting a shot in the doctor’s office, we try to avoid or—if we can’t do that—at least minimize pain. But pain has an important and very necessary place in our lives.
When I saw the x-ray image above, I cringed. When I read my friend’s account of how the injury happened, my toes curled, my stomach tightened, and I knotted up inside as a mental video played in my mind. And then I remembered something: my friend didn’t feel it. Nothing. No pain. No sensation of both her tibia and her fibula fracturing.
You see, my friend has a lower spine injury. A freak accident more than 25 years ago left her paralyzed from the waist down. And though I’ve known others with various disabilities, it’s only been through this woman’s friendship that I have begun to understand the impacts.
A few times in my life, I’ve been sick in bed or on the couch just long enough that parts of my body feel sore. For my friend, that’s daily. Except for one thing: she doesn’t feel sore…at least below the waist. And because of that, the sores she gets could get infected and she’d never know it.
A few years ago while hospitalized for one of these infected sores, a new doctor came in to examine her. Apparently not familiar with her condition, he asked the typical doctor’s question: “What’s your pain level?” My friend just stared at him in disbelief before finally saying, “I don’t feel any pain. I can’t feel anything.” She was dumbfounded by the unexpected ignorance of this medical professional.
Most of us try to avoid pain; my friend wishes she could feel it – because pain is a sign of life.
The next time you get hurt… the next time you stub your toe or hit your head or are hurt by a friend’s careless words… say a prayer of thanks to God that your feelers work. Thank Him that He’s given you life.
Then go get a bandaid for your toe, an icepack for your head, or a cup of coffee and a dose of forgiveness for your friend.