Reflection on Pain and Unfinished Plans

Bleeding hearts by liz west

Bleeding Hearts via Flickr / liz west

Yesterday as I read Kelli Woodford’s awesome post at Chronicles of Grace for the Unforced Rhythms link-up, I was feeling sorry for myself.

Enjoying a pity party!

Some weeks ago I shared I would be in a writing class for 10 weeks and posting only here and there. My husband and I also signed up to volunteer during the fall fund drive for our favorite local radio station, something I love to do.

Classes were on Wednesdays from 11am to 1pm, and volunteer efforts limited to other days of the week. I had anticipated intense assignments from the class and was willing to put in an all out effort. The second class was behind me and my assignment partially completed when the unexpected hit.

PAIN! Lower part of upper right back and right side.

“Must have pulled some muscles,” I thought. “But how and doing what?” It was Thursday, 9/25, the day after class, and we had no volunteer assignments until Friday, 10/3. I should be A-OK by the next class.

Fast forward to this morning, I sit here in unrelenting pain having seen one physician’s assistant, lab work and x-rays done, with a primary care physician booked out three weeks with whom I’ve exchanged emails, and conversations with my spine surgeon who has looked at the x-rays and declared all fusions and spinal repairs intact and nothing new to be found. Physical therapy doesn’t start until next Wednesday. And it’s only a trial to see if we can discover what soft tissue may be involved.

“SO WHAT’S WRONG?” I want to scream. No pain medication or muscle relaxant touches the pain. Heat and ice don’t make much difference. My only comfort zone is found flat of my back in bed with two pillows tucked under my knees and then that not for long. I’m just not a back sleeper.

Then I read Kelli’s post. And she wrote:

Good stories, rather, are about how the characters are changed in the midst of the mess.

Kelli’s thoughts on her pain and how she learned to listen to it caused me to stop dead in my tracks. I stopped, took a deep breath, and realized I needed to listen to my pain.

It wasn’t just the physical pain of an unidentified injury. My pain included the disappointment of having to drop out of my class. Frustration at not being able to volunteer with my husband and friends was another stressor. My blogs were unattended and bare. None of the things I really enjoyed day-to-day like reading, quilting, knitting were easily done because of physical discomfort.

Put it all together and I have a mess! Yes, a mess!

Next Kelli quoted my favorite writer, Frederick Buechner (read the quote at her post). Buechner’s words, plus Kelli’s, set my mind and heart on a straight but difficult path of listening to my pain. Like Kelli, I have avoided facing the inevitable: waiting for the next class in January, going through physical therapy, getting behind on writing and chores, just feeling sorry for myself. Face it all I must, and I will. (By the way, Kelli, I vowed to marry this man long ago, and I know it was before you did!)

Many thanks to Kelli and Our Heavenly Father for bringing Kelli’s message to me.



4 thoughts on “Reflection on Pain and Unfinished Plans

  1. Sherrey,
    Praying you are feeling better today…I’m working on your guest post and I hope to feature you toward the latter part of next week or two weeks from now. I’ll let you know once I get it set. Thanks for sharing your story.


    • Each day, Dolly, brings tiny glimpses of improvement. If I only knew what I did, it would be so much easier to accept the level of pain this has brought. I’ve had severe back pain prior to my fusions but this has been even worse than that. Bless my husband’s Godly heart! He has taken good care of me, prayed over me, and even came home the other day with a thermal patch which has really helped. I didn’t even ask! Your timing on the post sounds good, and I wish I had felt better during the time I was working on it. But everything in God’s own timing.


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