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Posts Tagged ‘The Problem of Pain’

It was a beautiful painting. As I stood before the gorgeous combination of colors. The vision of mountains and sky. The strokes of the painters brush … the strokes of a painter of passion, a painter of purpose.

It is a pictorial representation of that familiar description of the aura one having a migraine is often known to speak of. So, in the midst of her beautiful painting, is something like a hole. This ‘hole’ makes the painting look flawed to the point of being painful to view.

One of her purposes in creating this painting was to create a visual for her doctor, to show him what it is she experiences. It could be said that her painting is the picture of the pain no one sees, except for her.

Another picture of pain could be an x-ray, to confirm a broken bone. Or an ultrasound to confirm an ectopic pregnancy.

Sometimes the picture of pain can also be vicarious. Just the other morning a friend was telling me of a sports injury that her husband had suffered. He had thought he had broken a bone, but now it looks more like the muscle was torn from the bone. Just hearing about it caused a shiver down my spine, as I vicariously imagined the pain that must cause.

These are pictures that are bright with the colors of pain.

There is other pain that is more difficult to see, more difficult to experience. It is the pain of the emotion, of the heart. This kind of pain is not visible, like fall colors, but it is hidden in the shadows of our heart.

For people to know that you are suffering with this kind of pain, the one in pain needs to share their experience. I refer to his as bleeding publicly. This unseen pain can be the most mentally, spiritually and even physically altering pain.

The only visual that one suffering the ravages of hidden pains, is one of a hand gripped around ones heart, squeezing tighter and tighter, just to the point that would end it’s pulsing, and the relief of final death.

A broken heart rarely does stop beating. It keeps going, and the pain continues. Gradually it subsides, and the pain lessens. But the scar tissue is permanent, and the person carries their scars, like an amputee carries their scars. We may go to our grave concealing our greatest pains, our greatest injuries.

These scars recreate us. Others may never see our heartaches, but they will see the picture that the pain has created in our re-created self.

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain,
but it is more common and also more hard to bear.
The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden:
it is easier to say
“My tooth is aching”
than to say
“My heart is broken.””
C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain 

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