This past week was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for me. As a mother you never want to see your child in pain, whether it be physical or emotional pain. But that is what we have been going through for nearly a year now, with our youngest son.
He began to have stomachaches toward the end of 5th grade. They would occur every-so-often but as time went on, they began to happen more frequently. Then they got to a point where sometimes they would last for several days. He would be bed-ridden, miserable and in some cases, vomiting profusely.
It was probably the end of 2010 when it seemed like every month he was getting sick. But each doctor visit would leave me without answers. In fact, one of the last times we went to our family doctor, after running blood work and taking an x-ray, we were made to feel that either our son was exaggerating the pain or it wasn’t real.
I know that was very frustrating to my son and it was certainly frustrating to me as a mother. Long story short, this past week we finally saw a specialist at Children’s Hospital who works specifically with abdominal pain. It was good timing because my son was symptomatic at the time. He had been sick for nearly 6 days by the time we saw the specialist.
As the appointment unfolded and the doctor spoke, I began to feel such a sense of peace wash over me. We were finally getting answers and a diagnosis but quite honestly, what gave me the greatest hope was to hear him say, “The pain is real.” Those words wouldn’t leave me. They were comforting because they meant yes, what others thought wasn’t real actually is. I’m sure it was comforting to my son as well.
All week those words reverberated inside me. It got me thinking about those who suffer from conditions like fibromyalgia. To others who don’t understand it, we can question the reality of their pain. While they cry out from within, “The pain is real!”
What about the pain we feel emotionally? When we lose a loved one, when a marriage ends, when a disappointment comes our way? Others, in an effort to try and make sense of it all, will say things that almost dismiss the pain. They are things like, “God will make a way.” “It was his time.” “Joy comes in the morning.” “This too shall pass.” “It will all work out.”
The intentions are well and good but who, after losing a loved one, wants to hear that “God must have needed him”? Because inside they are crying out, “But I needed him!” We almost dismiss the pain of others when we try to lather them with Christian phrases or even Bible verses.
I know to some that might sound “un-Christian.” Aren’t we supposed to throw Bible verses around? Not necessarily. There is a time for everything and when someone is in the midst of pain, all they really want to hear is that their pain is real. They want it acknowledged. They don’t want it glossed over.
Eventually you get to that place where you are ready to hear the Word of God. You get to that place where true healing comes through it. However in the midst of pain, in the midst of being so very human, you just want someone to understand that your pain is very real indeed.
I don’t what pain you are feeling today but I do know that what you feel is very real. Remember this the next time you see someone else hurting or struggling…then acknowledge to them that you understand how real their pain is.