Monday, August 16, 2010

Pain and Me



In nights of physical pain, I lift from my body, hover above, and watch my weakness with disdain. I dream without sleeping, float in a sea of nerve endings glowing red. I write beautiful words in the dark; they are slender threads of silver and gold, pulsing with meaning and truth. Pain purifies thoughts, sharpens the senses. In the night hours, I pity the part of me that demands attention to the fiery current racing down my spine and legs. I toss, turn, and wish it would stop. I argue my case, and pain argues back its own. One night, Pain opened up to me and said, "At times, I’d rather be called something else, like beauty, or hope, or joy. Do you think it's easy being hated and feared? I do my job and that is what I do. Who told you life is lived without pain?" I answered, "Do your worst! I am strong!” And I lay there, and I felt Pain, and thought, who would I be without Pain? It’s become a part of me, attached to me as if an extra body part. It's mine. And I can take it. I am strong.


In the quiet dark, I think how one day I will be a very old woman. I’ll walk crooked to the coffee pot, pour a cup, and holding the cup with trembled hands, I’ll shuffle to the porch, carefully sit in my rocker, pull a throw over my knees, and rock rock and think about pain and me and how we had a long good life together. I’ll wonder, did pain take away or did pain give insight, and empathy? I will drink every bit of my strong black coffee and I'll be grateful for its taste and heat, and I'll say, "Come on pain, today we will write, and then we will rock some more, and then we will read, and then we will rock some more. Life is good." And it won't seem but a minute that I am on Earth, just a minute. Just a minute. A minute. Minute.

(this was first posted on the yog blog a couple years ago)

16 comments:

Bonnie said...

Beautifully written description of your relationship with pain. At least it does not have to scream louder to get your attention.

Powerful last word.

Diane said...

I am amazed how much pain we can endure with the right attitude and hope. :O)

Marisa Birns said...

Gorgeous writing. And sometimes Pain can be thought of as a mother who warns the child, "Stop doing what you're doing. It's not good for you."

john bord said...

There are times I wish I could reach out with magic eraser and rub the agony away. It is so energy sapping, life is drained out yet all one can do is as you noted, have a relationship with it.

As I have done many times.... reach out and caress it yet let it know it will not dominate my time.

Take care.

Linda Leschak said...

Kat, this is so beautifully written. There is a poetic quality to it making it so very powerful.

There is something to be said about acknowledging and, in a sense, embracing our pain. For if we continue to hate it, it armours up and becomes stronger. I read about a cancer victim who made peace with her disease and, by refusing to hate it, she diffused it and it finally gave up and went away. I thought that was very amazing and so I try, with my arthritic back, to send it loving kindness rather than hateful loathing.

Meghann LittleStudio said...

So beautiful and true. I have debilitating fibromyalgia and I can tell you, i hope to be an old woman one day (I'm 28) and be able to look at it with such clarity and honesty. I am getting there now, but there are times..... :)
Thank you for sharing that.

JudithAlef said...

Pain is neither malicious nor benevolent in its intentions. It is the Sage come to lay a map upon the table.

I made a bee line for my giant pilates ball last night. I slowly rocked back and forth for the length of Masterpiece Theatre. I stood,now aligned, and walked up the stairs to sleep.

Marguerite said...

Beautifully written post, but I'm so sorry to learn that you have chronic pain. I would have never known, since you're always so cheerful. There has to be a way to get rid of it and I hope that you find it. Hugs!

Judith Flickinger said...

Nicely put. Beleive me, I do understand.

Karen said...

Kathryn, I'm impressed how you've dealt with pain and turned it into a writing partner. My wish, tho, is that you aren't in pain. Blessings**

demery bader-saye said...

Beautiful. These words are like a hammock - I want to rest and linger in them. Thank you for sharing.

Titus said...

Very interesting take on chronic pain.
Whole subject is fascinating - do you have Pain Clinics in the USA?

ficwriter said...

I'd love to join you on your porch for a cup of strong coffee when we are old women, bent and wise. Here it comes. Any minute now. "A minute. Minute."

Lori said...

Oh Wow! This spoke to my heart and it understood your words to it's depth. So beautiful and true...thank you for this girl tonight. XX

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Love the way you wrote about your relationship with Pain.

I don't know what life is like without physical pain every day. Some days it's a struggle to get out of bed, to think, to breathe, but I've learned to use that time to be quiet and dream, pray, read and lose myself to music.

I hope and pray your pain will leave you even if it's for a little while and you will soar above it and be set free!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Thank you all for your well-wishes -- Am much better today! Y'all are the best . . .

And, for those of you who said or thought or live "I know what you mean. . ." *HUG*