I was busily teaching Shakespeare to my son about two and a half years back and blinded with chronic pain with a severity level that was incomprehensible to me. My arms and body literally were shaking from the pain of unhealed acid reflux, throat and esophageal spasms and other various severe symptoms. While we joked around with the famous quote: "To be or not to be–that is the question!" I was full throttle trying to escape the pain I was in, and Hamlet’s lines to me became part of my life story. I planned, I plotted and I contemplated my choices. I wished I could say that my faith held strong and constant, but truthfully it was tested and the relentlessness and knowledge of very little pain control in my future tore at me.
So many with chronic pain understand this place; this is a place of struggle and inability to rise above real physical circumstances and is quite to be expected. It is not a place of shame or blame, but simply a place where our resources are not enough to with stand the pain, which in my case was mostly physical, though it did surface after a period of personal loss. I still don’t understand all the "whys" and all the suffering present on earth in my loved ones or myself. Though hope and healing to me now are in the resilience of continuing on in the journey with God when the answers do not come, and it is found especially in this place of darkness of not knowing all. Some times I think it’s simply all about what God has to offer during the suffering, rather than healing. His love is extravagant, but I do believe He is much more interested in our souls then our temporary temples.
I learned that the Light may dim, but will never, ever, go out. The very worst of my darkness lifted a while back, but I do naturally struggle at times when pain and symptoms progress or uncertainty rears it’s ugly head. I’m happy to say that these times are less and are fleeting, that I know God is present and has imparted hope to me, and although I may be fragile at times I’m much stronger in several ways now. My physical suffering is worse, but my mind and spirit are rejoicing in Truth and in the shared experience of others who understand and have walked this same road. It is their brave testimonies that have helped me understand the Holy Spirit’s continued goodness and our worth in His sight. I know now that I can experience love and life during the pain which is just one part of me, not who I am. Thus, the reason why I am beginning to share as I have found that there is much power released in the Spirit through transparency and it is like a chain reaction of love, this lifting one another up.
I also offer this song by Natalie Grant, In Better Hands Now, as I listen to it almost daily amongst my eclectic mix, as it encourages me. I choose this particular video of it as if you look closely, there is a little girl with brownish-red long hair in a field. The lyrics there say "I am safe" and upon viewing it the first time, it took my breath away as though it was me back in time. My fields were my safe place as a child and a place that still remain a refuge of renewal and peace for me today. That clip really warms my heart and also reminds me of my sister and my sister-cousin whom spent our childhoods together roaming in our fields, which were really our safe playground together. "To be" is really all that is for me and now is no longer a question.