meep (meep) wrote,

It was a bad day

Yesterday was pretty bad.

I was able to get stuff done, but while out w/ D, walking in Lasdon Park, I got a bunch of pain on my right side -- mainly my head, face, neck... but also going down my arm & leg. I asked D if it was okay if we just walked in the Dinosaur Garden (a very short walk) and then go back home. He was amenable.

But one thought related to C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, which I recently read. Some of what Lewis wrote, I agree with. But I really didn't like one of his explanations: getting the attention of people who are "good enough" but might not be paying attention enough to God. So I decided to look up when Lewis wrote the book. 1940. Lewis would have been 41 at the time -- maybe he hadn't run into the pain of middle age yet, but I bet he had. The thing is, there is a certain amount of pain that comes to us all, not just the acute pain from overdoing it (or having an accident), but the more chronic aches & pains. Obviously, having been through WWI and being at the start of WWII, he definitely knew the emotional/spiritual pain that came from that, and the "malaise" of the 1930s. Yes, he was ensconced in University life, but I am sure he understood some of that.

But I doubt that he had the experience of chronic physical pain. And plenty of people get that pain absent of "deserving" it. That's a tough argument to make. But more that I don't think that he understands the effect of chronic pain on people -- it doesn't turn people to God, necessarily -- it can make one turn inward. All you can pay attention to is the pain itself.

I do try to find meaning in pain -- as a Catholic, I try to "offer it up":

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us the framework within which to understand the theological foundation of the practice of “offering it up.”

That framework, in other words, is the mystery of redemptive suffering. Christ makes us — members of his Mystical Body — participants in that redemptive self-offering of Christ our head.

So I "offer it up" for the souls in Purgatory. As the linked piece indicates, it needs not be chronic pain or anything really serious to offer it up:

In fact, it is possible over time with God’s grace to embrace — even with joy — the unpleasant surprises, setbacks, apparent failures, frustrations, and hurts that come our way precisely because we experience how profoundly God can work in and through them for our good and the good of the Church. By offering these things up, uniting them to the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus, we trust that God the Father mysteriously brings about some good somewhere in the Mystical Body as a fruit of our generous offering. Yet we benefit as well, as he simultaneously turns our sufferings, big or small, into opportunities for personal growth and holiness.

Perhaps pain is an opportunity for holiness, and perhaps sometimes it's just a screwup of our nervous system.

In any case, all the stuff I wasn't able to do yesterday (and I went to bed early yesterday, so the hit of Satan's Time (aka DST) was less for me) I have to do today. Already got a couple done already, and now for the grocery shopping...
Tags: pain

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