“Look at your daydreams—they tell you what you are living for, who you really are.” Timothy Keller
One of the ‘benefits’ – if you can call it that! – of living with pain is that in order to feel relief you have to take things a little slower and rest up more often. And if you need to do that during the day, chances are you’re going to spend a fair amount of time daydreaming when you’re not reading a book (or lets be honest, watching something!)
Two of my closest friends suffer with constant pain, one from mysterious aches which leave her exhausted through lack of sleep and the other with rheumatoid arthritis which anybody knows is a terrible life-long burden. In comparison, I have an ailment that is really quite minor, I have varicose veins in just one leg which are a parting gift from having had four pregnancies and 3 babies over 10lbs. The discomfort used to be occasional and then monthly but lately has become a daily ache that is always there in the background although I’m not always consciously aware of it. I realised though that it’s the pain that is making me think I’m feeling tired and is causing me to become irritable and even weepy at times. It’s not the things that are going on around me that’s making me feel that way, it’s what I’m experiencing on the inside.
Fortunately, in my case there are remedies for my condition and my able GP has referred me for further treatment. My friends though have been less successful in that there simply are no cures and I’d love to be able to help them. I do absolutely dream of a perfect world where there are fixes for those whom I love.
It’s made me think about the other things we live with constantly on the inside that we would prefer not to have there. Things like anger, despair, impatience, irritability, self absorption etc. etc. … (fill in as appropriate!) We could be mistaken in our understanding that those emotions or feelings are caused by events or people on the outside and that they are the ones to blame for the way we feel. If that is our understanding then we would never address the root of the problem, that is that these things come from within us and they are a result of our response to whatever it is that has affected us. It is our own hearts that are the source of these ailments. Ignoring hurtful people then or trying our absolute best in mustering up kindness would be the equivalent of putting a plaster on my varicose veins, it’s never going to cure the problem!!
I was thinking about when Jesus said ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.’ That might seem obvious but in context he wasn’t talking about physical illness rather the sickness of our hearts. He was talking to those who believed they were so good that they didn’t recognise how poorly they really were. There are others who listened to him and understood that they had a deep down heart problem that can’t be cured no matter how hard we keep trying. You could practice being as kind as you like but how will you fix yourself the next time you fail on that score?
I find it incredible that there is a cure for my worst inside nastiness and that although it cost a life, I didn’t have to pay for it. He only asks us to accept it as a gift. I’m grateful that I was referred to the Greatest Physician and that His work is perfect.
So that’s who I’m living for and that’s who I really am.