Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pain and Pleasure

Every day I experience both pleasure and pain. Sometimes one dominates (usually pain), but I can't think of a time of any appreciable length (hours, days) where it was all pain or all pleasure.

The strange thing is that they are both so subjective that the only way we can communicate them to each other is to say things like "this really hurts" or "mmm good". We can smile or whimper. We can laugh or cry. But we really can't put our pain or pleasure on a scale and weigh them.

The last time I was in the emergency room strapped to a back board, they had a cute little sign that had 10 faces in a row that appeared to show mild discomfort all the way up to crying (screaming?). I was definitely in pain following a car crash. But I thought, how the heck do I know where I fit on the scale. Somehow, so long as I am not screaming and writhing I figure the pain must not really be all that bad. I just couldn't say I was a 8 or a 9 because I figured 10 must be something like having gas poured all over me and being lit on fire.

My knee pretty much hurts all day, every day. But if I am busy or amused, I don't really notice it. I began to suspect the pain was significant when it started waking me up out of a sound sleep and I had to roll around holding my knee for a while.

All the examples so far have been pretty much physical pain. Mental anguish is even tougher to judge.

Pain. We all have it. Only God knows how bad we have it. My neck and knee are both hurting tonight (some kind of muscle spasm in the neck). I also have a headache and twinges in my arthritic shoulders. If the pain gets a whole lot worse than this over the rest of my life, I will be very disappointed! At the same time, I am very glad that my ailments are as minor as they seem to be compared to the really nasty stuff. And this physical pain is kind of kiddie stuff compared to how it felt when I was extremely depressed years ago.

So I am willing to stick this out for the sake of serving God and my fellow humans. But I am really looking forward to the time when there will be no more crying and no more pain.
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