03 October, 2009

Scarred for Life

I have no patience these days with the Nietzschean cliché, 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger.' I’ve found that the deepest pain holds no meaning. It is not purifying. It is not ennobling. It does not make you a better human being. It just is.

All the worst pain does is reduce us to our most primal animal. We want it to stop. We want to survive. It short-circuits any sense of self, diminishes us to a bundle of biological reflexes.

NYTimes blog by way of the Fibromyalgia Blog.

I'm ashamed to add words to such a statement, but I've felt pain too. I've felt pain just like that - not recently, but those feelings. Since those days I've said, "That which does not kill us scars us for life."

And I'm scared to say anything about these words because there are those I love who are in that place right now. How dare I speak words into their pain that they cannot feel now? But I do remember. Really, I do. I remember and I think I would have wanted to hear both the words I've quoted above and the words I add below.

You're alive.

Ecclesiastes says a living dog is better than a dead lion, and pain taught me how right Solomon was. I wanted to be a noble lion in noble pain, but I survived because I realized I was a humble little mongrel held in the hands of the Living Lord. He preserved me because He loved me, and I lived because I finally found that grain of trust in His love.

I bear scars I'll nurse until I die, but only that long. There is a glory of life and trust, a love of God and man, my pain taught me and by which I'll be carried through all eternity.

Surviving such pain cripples us. Finding God scarred exactly as we were scarred, exactly because He loves us, metamorphosizes us. Pain cripples, but love transforms. The work love does with pain is divine.

Cry out to God and believe. His love for you is stronger than your agony. It is.

Jesus is.


Anonymous said...

I’ve spent a lot of time with those in pain this year and I can tell you that it’s gripping. When my knee hit the worst point that I couldn’t take it anymore it had taken over my mind.

I’m blessed because my pain is small now. I’m blessed because my son’s pain is gone. I’m praying that God continues to give my sister what she needs to the pain back.

And some day we will not know pain


Missy said...

Kev, can I just say, "Ditto."

The article you quote describes my recent physical pain precisely. It was more revealing that purifying when it pared me down to that primal animal. I think accepting that it just "is" might just be critical to surviving the scars, though. I'm still trying to catch my breath on this lesson - I want a deeper meaning, desparately. And, I'm learning the heart of that is a pride in regards to what I think I deserve.

Good post, bro!

Weekend Fisher said...

Amen ...
From the choir. ;)

Take care & God bless
Anne /WF

Kansas Bob said...

An interesting thought about a scar.. it can be the evidence of a healing.

karen said...

Hmmm. With lupus and fibro, I can relate. Sometimes, I think I must look like an animal; eyes furtively looking around for escape...but there is no escape except in loopy or dangerous drugs or herbal concoctions. And, those don't really work much.
I don't know what God wants with this. I know Paul suffered. I know my Jesus suffered. I know Job suffered.
Well, it stinks! I hate it. As I'm getting older, it gets scarier.

Kansas Bob said...

Thanks for that dose of reality Karen. I resonate with that last sentence.. I know that getting older shouldn't be scarier but I find it difficult to stay positive when things get worse instead of better.

Kevin Knox said...

Yes, Karen. I've tasted lesser fears, and they are foul. And warranted. David felt his fears down to his bones and even Paul reveals his fears when he protests against them.

We are pressed down with wounds that don't heal. Jacob wrestled with God and won, but he limped for the rest of his days. We are changed forever.

I believe the question is one of trust. If we trust, then we are changed by receiving God's unwavering love through every agony. If we do not trust, then we are changed when we perceive abandonment. The problem is we are not binary creatures. We don't decide on Sept 13, 1982 to trust and the rest is gravy. We decide from moment to moment, and some of our decisions soften us while others harden us.

And years into the game, I'm only beginning to learn the balances between soften/weaken and harden/strengthen. I don't know how many times I fled things that might have strengthened me for fear of being hardened. And then I'm reminded of the intractibility of a toddler who's set his mind to be afraid.

I believe, Jesus. Help my unbelief.

karen said...

I keep trying, I keep struggling. I get little tidbits of light and comfort. I know He is there! Imagine...the disciples had Him RIGHT THERE, and still they struggled with disbelief....we haven't walked with Him in the flesh and it's a struggle.
I thought getting older was going to make me take things in stride. It seems that I just manage to get through the hard stuff and am relieved when things get back to normal. What have I learned? Am I growing or just coping?
Thinkin' out loud.

Kansas Bob said...

Karen, I think that your last comment is representative of many folks who have chronic illnesses. It is hard for others who are healthy to get what you are saying.. unfortunately I am not one of them.. I get it.