For every moment of pain in my life there have been many more corresponding moments of kindness and compassion.
Posted in , Mar 20, 2017
Adapted from Edward Grinnan’s Editor’s Note for the March 2017 issue of Guideposts. If you’d like to subscribe, click here.
First came the pain. Then the denial. Finally I went to the doctor.
“You have arthritis in your left hip,” he said, pointing to the X-ray. “Eventually you’ll need surgery.” I’d worn the joint out, probably from years of biking and hiking. Why the left hip, I wanted to know. “It could be this,” he said, tapping the spot on the X-ray where the left side of my pelvis had been fractured when I was 12. I’d been hit by a car while riding my bike near my house in Michigan.
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It surprised me that a decades-old injury, long healed and forgotten, had come back to haunt me. Could that also be true, I wondered, of other injuries that I’d suffered, spiritual and emotional injuries as well as physical ones? As we grow older, battered and bruised, are we just a collection of our wounds?
No, a loving God wouldn’t do that to us. I remembered those two months I spent flat on my back in bed at home, waiting for my pelvis to heal. People I hardly knew from church visited weekly, and our pastor stopped by even more often. My friends congregated daily outside my window. I was hardly ever alone.
A few years later, when I ended up on crutches after breaking my leg skiing, classmates carried my books and I got a permanent seat on the school bus (to say nothing of the attention from girls).
Much later, when I broke my arm playing on the Guideposts softball team (yes, I’ve broken a lot of bones), I found out New York wasn’t as impersonal as they say. People waited to hold doors for me and surrendered their cabs. Bank tellers filled out my deposit slips and friends cut up my food.
What about the emotional and spiritual wounds? Then too, people were there to love me until I could love myself. Never would I have gotten sober without the collective strength of my support group. Never would I have seen my way through depression without others. They were the light at the end of the tunnel.
For every moment of pain in my life there have been many more corresponding moments of kindness and compassion. Yes, we might be a collection of our wounds, but we are even more so a reservoir of the love that has healed us.