Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chronic Pain takes away the feeling of being normal

Sometimes I lose count of how many years Pain has been with me. Not because the Pain goes away, but it has become very "familiar" to me and the memory of being normal is long gone. I think of all the physical work that is no longer a part of me: gardening, mowing, building fences, painting, even pulling weeds from my flower beds. My identity seemed so connected to physical labor since I was a very young child and my tiny legs moved fast to keep up with the long stride of my precious Dad. Each time he went outside, there I was right beside him, asking so many questions like, "Daddy, why is that chicken jumping on top of the other one all the time?"  

His face would turn red. Then I recall something being said about that being the way chickens are, and he would move on quickly to get off the subject that I was too young to comprehend. The day my Dad passed, he called me, and we talked as I was on my way for more Pain injections. I still recall him telling me in a firm voice, "Well Sister, I am afraid that Old Pain is going to stay with you for the rest of your life. But you are strong, don't forget that!" I assured him that his words would stay with me and promised to see him within the next day or two. But the Lord was ready to call him home. My sister phoned me just when we got home from the Pain Clinic and told me, "Come quick, Daddy is waiting for you." The Lord blessed me with  a few moments of being with my dear Dad, and I was able to tell him how much I loved him.

I have pondered deeply on that phone call and wondered, "Why did he tell me about the Pain staying with me?" We had not talked about it much, and yet there he was, in his final day and reaching out to give me words that would stay with me forever. When I think about it, the Lord used my Dad to give me the example of what it was like to live with Chronic Pain, to have all your physical abilities taken from you and yet still bless you with a sense of humor, being able to laugh during the worst of times. One day while he was still with us, I went to see him and realized he badly needed a shave. So we both agreed, let's try it. Right as I got the razor close to his face, he paused a moment, took my hand in his and said, "Now I bet you might want to slice my throat for being a tough Dad. But if you don't mind, I would like to live through this shaving episode!" We laughed so hard, and I promised to not do any permanent damage to him.

My sister-in-law, who is paralyzed and in a wheelchair, gave me a strong reminder about "counting our blessings" as she shared with me about her joy of being able to get in her van, take a drive and it hitting her so fast, "Is this what it feels like to be normal?" It touched me deeply as I knew how deep that statement must run inside her heart. I do not have a clue as to what it is like to be in her position. All I can do is praise her and admire the amazing strength she holds onto.

So my goal is to take what the Lord has directly in front of me and be thankful for every bit of it. Nothing will be accomplished if I continue fussing about the things I can't do. After all, I will be keeping the promise made to my Dad so many years ago, "I will be strong and never forget that, even in my worst moments."

Keep looking up for a second of joy. It's always there.

God bless you all.


  1. "So my goal is to take what the Lord has directly in front of me and be thankful for every bit of it. Nothing will be accomplished if I continue fussing about the things I can't do-and after all, I will be keeping the promise made to my Dad so many years ago, "I will be strong and never forget that-even in my worst moments."


    I am finding strength in this phrase. I did not grown to enjoy the company of my own Dad. He went away when I was little and did not even had a memory of his face except for a couple of pictures, one on their wedding, the other a junior-sized black and white bust photo. Anyway, I have my heavenly father now, and the fathers I am sharing with you, all for the good memories and wisdom you share to me.

    Sometimes, I get to converse with God, why he gives us troubles, pains and burdens, and as surely as daylight after dark comes, they are unique to each one. And then, I get the answer that He does not five us troubles we could not handle, mountains we could not surmount, and valleys we could not get out of. Do I have to celebrate this strength you gave me, Lord? Yes, He says.... and on, and on, it goes.......

    And then, I'd say...... "I can do all things through Him, that gives me strength."

    Thank you, dear Heavenly Father, for you have given me insights of having a father, and carrying wisdom, sincerely uttered to be drawn from, in times of need. Thank you, for Martha's Dad who was a part of what she is now. Amen.

    1. Lolita-
      Oh my-first I am hit with deep sadness that you did not have more time with your Dad-and there is nothing I can say or do to make that empty feeling go away. While growing up, I would hear my parents make the comment when they had lost both their parents "Well, now we are members of That CLUB-being people who no longer have their parents to turn to." The sadness in their eyes was easy to see but still hard for me to comprehend-until my TURN came-and then, dear Lord I knew what they had been saying. My Mom and I had our ups and downs but we found our peace with each other as she was passing. With My Dad, oh how amazing it was to love him. You made a statement that really hit me, Thanking my Dad for the part he played in helping me be who I am! It felt for a short second as if he was smiling down from Heaven.

      As we all blog, I am learning it does take courage to open ourselves up and share about family, hurts, personal weakness, and our Faith. Your comments have touched my heart so deeply and thank you for giving me strength- "I can do all things through Him, that gives me strength!" God bless you and keep you close to His heart. Martha

  2. P.S.

    Martha, I will have to say this again, as I said it to all my blogging-friends. Forgive my typos and mispelled words. Hope they give the coherent meaning of the message. Sometimes, my mind races away, out of step with my typing. My left hand still retained a little numbness from a mild stroke I had last 2009. Thanks for understanding.

    1. Lolita-
      Please let me assure you that every message of yours that I have read, are without doubt Clear, Coherent and go straight to the heart.

      Just think-here you are, typing away, with loving thoughts racing in your mind and doing it all, in spite of having had a mild stroke. The Lord KNEW there is so much more to be written by you and its your gift to reach out, share your faith and touch another person. Please know, I do not look for typos--instead I cherish the meaning in your words. God bless you for not giving up. You are amazing! Love, Martha

  3. My Martha...what a beautiful post!

    Your very first paragraph could have been written by me. Someone knows. Someone understands.

    I also see where you get your sense of humor from. Thank you for sharing your Dad with us. He sounds like he was a wonderful man and father. I teared up at reading how you made it to his bedside before he passed. What a blessing.

    "Well Sister, I am afraid that Old Pain is going to stay with you for the rest of your life, but you are strong, don't forget that!" It sounds prophetic to me. As if God, Himself, was strengthening for your journey through your father's loving voice.

    How awesome and touching.

    And now you strengthen others for their journey...

    Wow...what a calling! I'm honored to know you, My Dear Martha!

  4. Diane-
    WOW-these are wonderful words of praise and I do not feel worthy of them but am learning its Okay to accept praise and you have heaped it upon me. My Dad meant so much to me and there have been so many times when I longed to talk with him, ask his advice on how to handle an issue and somehow when those thoughts rise up, a solution comes to me in a very peaceful manner. God does have ways of reaching us-and sometimes its not always EASY as to how HIS words come, but if we keep our hearts open, the answer will come. I can vividly recall our last Nigerian Priest, Father Nich-he was huge and had a booming voice but could soften it and you heard his message. One thing he said right after he got here was "You must listen Attentively! Put everything else out of your mind and listen for God's message." It stayed with me, and I have never forgotten that simple explanation on listening.

    God bless you for these loving words and just keep being You.
    Love, Martha

  5. Our earthly and heavenly fathers,all taught and teach us about pain. My dad only spent two days in terrible pain before he went to see his savior. As he trashed and moaned, I prayed, sang songs and read scripture over him. As I read this scripture, Romans 8:18 "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us", I saw that, amidst his torment, he was nodding ever so slightly, in agreement. My daddy believed! It has given me strength through many days and nights of pain.

    God bless you, Martha, for these posts! How the encourage me and so many others! Judi

  6. Judi-
    Bless you for this beautiful scripture and how true those words are. I am saddened to hear your Dad was in terrible pain but what a blessing you were to him-especially reading Scripture-helping to show him the Journey through the words of our Lord.

    Yes my Dad meant so much to me-many times my Mom would say it was like watching twins, meaning we worked together as one and I would know what tool or help he was needing before he got the chance to ask me for it.

    I never dreamed to be in this place and sharing precious memories about my Dad with so many others. His reaction to praise was the same as mine-he never felt that worthy but in the last year of his life, I also had a moment to tell him "Daddy you have given me the best gift I could ever ask for!" He looked at me with shock and said "well it must not be much, because I don't have anything to give you." I gently took his hand and with tears beginning to slide down my face "You have given yourself to me, being the Best Dad anybody could ever dream of having, and I thank God for you!"

    He held my hand and I knew his heart heard the words of love I expressed to him. Thank you for these loving words Judi and I am truly touched. Know you are in my prayers-and I ask the Lord to give you strength, especially when the battle with Pain seems almost unbearable.

    God bless you. Martha