Sunday, February 1, 2009

Accepting Pain Gracefully

I was talking with a chaplain recently who works in an aged/palliative care facility and she said to me, ‘I’m inspired by the lives of these people.’ Later in the conversation, the subject shifted to the pain often experienced at the end of life and she remarked that the truly inspirational elderly were the ones who could accept the pain of their approaching death gracefully.

The next thing she said stunned me in its simplicity. She said that the challenge is to get more people to think differently regarding pain and that this was a growth journey of learning how to surrender and let go: let go and let God, essentially. She said many still do not come to terms with it very well.

Now the following is easy for someone like me to say who’s in relatively very little pain currently.

It appears the process of accepting pain gracefully is mostly about understanding that pain is normal and everyone feels it, and that pain doesn’t mean God is mean or life is unfair. It’s just simply painful and our mental and emotional attitudes need to cope with it the best way we can.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m elderly and in pain, or even if I suffer great pain in the meantime, I’d prefer to be as less of a burden to people and even be an inspiration if I could.

But like most things, it’s easier said than done, and I can’t help but sense the potential hypocrisy in my own words--will I live to rue them? Will I be strong enough to live up to them?

Therein lays the challenge…

Will I… will you… be that kindly bearing soul and accept pain gracefully?

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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