Voice of Pain

We were in a good sized assembly of more than 500 others and it was “High Five Friday.”

The guy a few seats down the row from me didn’t mean to do anything more than what we’d been instructed. We’d just high-fived each other in the noisy energy of the room when his extended arm came down quickly and his elbow hit hard on my shoulder bone. It was no more than a brief moment in a crowded room. He apologized amidst the sounds of hundreds of slapping hands that filled the air while it felt like a sledge hammer had struck me.

Strange thing was, that upon this nano-second moment, my recently injured foot began to throb in pain again. A couple of months earlier I’d dropped something heavy on my foot and as a result had limped around for several days. It was an accidental wound, and man had it hurt. Though this had happened weeks and weeks ago it began to ache and the pain returned again. What?

The complete strangeness of the recurrence was baffling—then something else came to mind about hurt and pain, so I’ll ask . . . have you ever been hurt, and I mean emotionally so, over something that happened long ago? Did a dream drift away that you’d held over time? Did a relationship die that should have grown better? Did someone call you “friend” and then draw a line and take sides against you because the hearsay was so more interesting than the truth?

The pain of the past has this mysterious way about it. It comes alive as if it just happened though its done and over with. It only exists now as a deeply stored record of history. But then a fresh wound seems to unlock the door it was kept behind.

While I don’t pretend to have an explanation for my earlier physical injury resurfacing with the unwelcome voice of pain, there’s a correlation here to be considered. Pain’s voice is saying something. It may be just an old echo from across a cavern of the past but it signals that we’ve not yet let go.

We’ve got to be gentle but firm with our past hurts. It is over but we may never really let it go. Burying without setting free an old grudge or hurt is to preserve it alive for another day. Oh, there’s work to be done so heed the voice of pain and do the restorative work needed to once and for all move on. Pull it up — get the roots. Get it gone and move on.