It’s almost 2 am and I turn over my tear-soaked pillow to find a more comfortable position.
It’s been a long time since I cried myself to sleep. Well, only if a long time means a few months.
I just can’t believe I still struggle with chronic pain.
I’ve suffered from joint inflammation since the winter of 2013 when a technical injury cost me my musical career. The pain has never subsided and sometimes when I haven’t diligently taken care of my body, the pain progresses.
Yeah, it sucks.
So last night as the clock neared the wee hours of the night, I was lying in a mess of tangled blankets wondering if I should get surgery. I spoke to a surgeon at one point who discouraged me from doing it.
“Once you cut, there’s no going back,” he said. And I don’t know if it was the wrinkles on his face or the fear of cutting opened my swollen wrists, but I decided not to get surgery.
My bed is cool. I begin wondering if insomnia is triggered by hyperactive nerves. No, I don’t have a sleeping disorder. I just allow anxiety, stress, and the results of a prolonged injury, to withhold my precious hours of sleep.
There came a point when I accepted this outcome of my life and I was okay with the circumstances. It just meant occasionally icing my aching joints, taking some pain relief when it was bad, and not doing anything that was too strenuous.
But sometimes I don’t have the strength to keep telling myself “I’ll be okay.” I try to say it in different languages as if somehow using someone else’s native tongue will ease the horrifying thought that I will live with chronic pain for the rest of my life.
Tu vas bien
And this is when the tears come.
I cry to feel something other than my aching joints. The tears spill down my face unlocking the chains that bind my mind with fear.
Stress relief comes from a good long cry. A cry that says, I can’t do this anymore.My lungs expand and I try once again, after a dozen times, to draw myself into sleep.But sleep has abandoned me.
“I hate you. . .” I say it to no one in particular.
And suddenly I regret this subtle remark I’ve directed toward my body. I try to make up for it with something that is true. “I love you. . .” I say in defense to my body. But do I really?
I suppose in reality I do love my body yet as soon as it becomes uncomfortable to live in, I don’t. My body is the one that carries me everywhere I need to go. My hands are the ones that type these very words. My arms lift, and drive, and hold, and comfort. My neck holds the eight pound head that sits above it.
I turn over my pillow again and shove my head into the moist, cotton fabric. The clock reads ten ’till two. Will I sleep or will this be another sleepless night?
What does one do when one painful night turns into dozens?
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7
I hate waiting. Someone shared in church on Sunday about waiting. He said that sometimes in life, waiting is God’s greatest gift to us. Without waiting we would have everything we needed all at once and would never learn to trust in God or rely on his providence. Isn’t it through the waiting that we develop character and grow spiritually?
Hours later I wake to another day of sunshine and I hit the snooze button a few times before I rise. “Thank you father, for another day of life.” I say the words with sincerity because although my joints ache and I feel incredibly tired, God has a purpose for my pain and a reason for my existence.