I have written about chronic pain before. It can be exhausting and feel never-ending, and there are times when all I can do is lay down and cry.
But this week the pain has been more of a nuisance than an all out assault. More of a ball and chain than a bulldozer.
And I’m learning a few things about how to find peace in the midst of pain. How to focus on something else for a few minutes.
I’m writing this in the hopes of resonating with some of you who struggle with chronic pain. Maybe one of these simple efforts can help you too.
Here are three things that take away my pain…for a little while.
1. Being silly with my kids. Letting go and letting them have all of me for as long as I can muster it. When I immerse myself in their world, pain takes a back seat. It might still be there, but I’m having too much fun to focus on it. This morning, I limped my way around the basketball court, playing P-I-G and making silly faces. Of course the bonus here was that my kids had a fun moment with their mom. (And not to brag, but I won.)
2. Doing more of what takes my breath away. Challenging myself to learn and improve a skill that makes my heart flutter. Last night, I dragged my camera and tripod outside and set up under the stars. It was hard to see at first, and I had to wait for the clouds to clear, but when the shutter clicked, this is what I saw.
I gasped and took another picture, and another…and pain was pushed far away.
3. Letting myself be fully loved. With pain comes defense, both physical and mental. It’s easy to get caught up in my own hard shell, both to shield myself from more pain, and to protect others from my suffering. But when I let my walls crumble, when I am fully vulnerable, when I get it all out – the tears, the frustration, the lament – when I let my guard down and let my husband, my family, my close friends minister to me in those moments, I finally find rest.
These are a few things that help me. How do you find rest in the midst of pain?