Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Merciful Headache

The headache is coming back. The one that makes me wish I could close my eyes and shut out the sights and sounds of this world, the one that turns my stomach and leaves me feeling as brittle as the fine porcelain. I have asked God why I must endure these bouts of incapacitation, there is so much more I could do if this blinding pain didn’t hinder my thoughts.

I could easily break into some deep theological discourse on the various Christian ideas on pain, but the truth is none of that really means much to someone who is in pain, physical, emotional, or mental, and I, like everyone else, desire only one thing at these times – relief. I want very simply and very profoundly for the pain to stop.

There is a temptation to rail at God for allowing me to endure this, after all I am in the middle of attempting to do what he has called me to do, but that type of existential angst is beyond me in this moment. For those of you who have never experienced existential angst, allow me share that it requires a greater expenditure of energy than these headaches will permit. So having asked for relief, sought it out and been left disappointed in pharmaceutical remedies, I am left with the task of endurance.

Now, I have studied various ideas of Christian philosophies on the matter of pain and why we experience physical ailments. Some schools of thought say that it is simply our cross to bear and we should endure with meekness and a mild spirit, perhaps which is beyond me, or maybe that is what God is teaching me. I am open to the idea of him teaching through any method he deem appropriate. Some schools of thought would say that I am suffering due to the consequences of sin, and in general I am in agreement. Pain and suffering are due to sin, but Jesus himself refutes the idea of sin being the cause of specific and individual pain in every circumstance. And as I have yet to experience the guiding force of conviction in relationship to this particular pain, I do believe that is it not this. So if it is God needs to speak louder.

Another school of thought would say that I need to examine the symptoms to understand the root cause. In this case, my head aches and the head being the symbol of authority would indicate I am having problems with authority. Well, I always have problem with authority but I am actively working on those issues. So once again I doubt that this is the cause or the cure for the knives that are gouging out my eyes from inside my skull.

Why am I still typing? Misery loves company, I guess. And it is a question that I would love to have answered. Why, when I need to be the most focused and on my game, does my head try to implode?

I think it is a reminder. A reminder that I should never rely too much on my personal ability to achieve. In everything I must be on guard against arrogance and my skills. Blame the pain, and forgive the blatantness of the next statement, I am good at what I do. I can make almost anything work if I try hard enough, and I know how to go after what I want. It is a God given tenacity that I have and one I use to my advantage. The problem lies in the balance.

God has given me a gift, but it does not mean that I may use it apart from him. It does not mean that I can rely on what he has given in place of relying on him. It is not an easy balance to achieve, so occasionally, he knocks me down a peg or two and leaves me lying slobbering in the floor while he advances in spite of me. He removes the power I would be attempted to abuse from my hands so that I can, in full knowledge, lay powerless at his feet. Through the pain he is “leading me not into temptation and delivering me from evil” before I have the ability to recognize there was even a hint of danger. He knows my weakness, and he knows I am weakest when I am operating in my strength. It is then that I am most likely to turn loose of his hand reach for those things I can do myself.

He is never a big fan of my self reliance. He knows it get me into trouble, and like a good Daddy he would rather prevent it than bail me out. So I am going to accept today’s mandate, find a quiet spot and lay my head down, pray that he is taking care of all things I am going to have to let go today. He knows I am out on a limb with deadlines and obligations, it didn’t escape his notice. So I will have to trust that he knows what he is doing, a fact easier said than believed when a thousand little jack hammers are making mush of your brain.

1 comment:

R.L. Leavell said...

Emily, I think allergies are my equivalent to your headaches. Looking back over years of frustration and suffering, I can thing of so many things I would have done without this curse. But then I would be a different person entirely, and not where God has me today. So I'll pray for both of us to have patience with our thorns!