Wednesday, February 29, 2012

::Pain::


The day after the injury was a holiday, though I had intended to work a half-day.

I didn't go in, opting to stay on the couch with rotating ice packs and extra-strength Tylenol, and movies and sleep.

I caught up on the popcorn flicks I missed this year; Bridesmaids, X-Men, the delightful but ephemeral Midnight in Paris, and finished Downton Abbey on pbs. I inhaled comfort in story escape and complete rest.

Despite the rest, ice, and painkillers, the finger still throbbed, swelled against the stitches, tingled and numbed in turn as nerves readjusted to the injury. I discovered that although I was protecting the finger from major movement and impact, what caused the most pain were the small movements I was commonly used to; reaching, stretching, and mobilizing the rest of the hand for use. Reaching to pull on a sock caused more pain other major movements.

"[Pain] removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul."--CS Lewis

Pain is a funny thing. It clears your mind to some things, and blinds you to others. You see yourself more or less clearly at different points. It changes what you do, what your priorities are, and how you respond to things.
A friend from work who had sustained several similar injuries in his carpentry days told me that sometimes hands have funny "trust" issues after being injured by the other limb; that even though the injury was unmeditated and accidental in nature, if severe enough, the injured hand needs to be taught to trust the other hand again.

Pain creates a distance; no matter how it was caused, that distance must be considered and either intentionally recovered, or else the gate closed and marked "No Trespassing".

I watched 'The Tree of Life' later in the week, a new film that explores the heart of the Job narrative. I was struck by how deeply it resonated that the pain of grief or loss carries both intense memory and an intensified, particular sense of wonder at our context--our world. We go immediately to both 'the foundations of the world' and to our particular place in it that feels the loss most clearly. In a sense, we go immediately to try and resolve or understand the purpose of this point of tension.

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