1347. There is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock. ~Charles Bukowski

Of pain you could wish only
one thing: that it would stop.
Nothing in the world is so
bad as physical pain.
In the face of pain there are no heroes.
~George Orwell

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This is not a plea for sympathy. Nor is it a cry for help, nor a need for response, nor an abandonment of hope for better days. Instead it is a bid for understanding of a place where some have never been, at least not for very long, a place that has to be believed to be felt because chronic pain comes with a terrible price and aching loneliness. Because I’ve lost another whole day of my life to the chronic pain that has dogged my days since I was 25 years old, I’ve been struggling to cope and understand as well as to find the strength to endure both the pain and the aloneness of it. In doing so I remembered that several of my followers fight the same battle every day of their lives too. And so tonight I wanted to try to explain the double-edged sword of pain in hopes that readers would try to understand how hard a battle it is. As Orwell, said there are no heroes, unless they be the ones whose compassion encourages a willingness to believe and stand by the sufferer’s side. Below is an excerpted, edited, and adapted article written by Dr. David Biro whose words are the best I’ve found so far in describing what the battle of chronic pain is truly like.

“Part of what makes pain ‘painful’ is its privacy and unsharability, the feeling of aloneness. “Nothing is quite so isolating,” writes Robert Murphy ‘as the knowledge that when one hurts, nobody else feels the pain…’ This under-appreciated feature (to an outsider, that is) is especially true for pain that persists, chronic versus acute pain. When one breaks a bone, the pain can be excruciating and isolating for hours or days, but once it lets up, one can return to the intrinsically social being that defines our species. When the pain goes on for months or years, it becomes more and more difficult to reintegrate oneself into a world that has no idea what a long-term sufferer has been experiencing. That kind of pain causes a rupture because it inverts normal perspective. Instead of reaching out to other people in work or play, people with chronic pain turn inward and become self protective which is an instinctive, understandable response. Something is wrong inside and so they must attend and focus on the threat and make sure it doesn’t get any worse. But while the pain inside looms large for the person experiencing it, it is often invisible to the person viewing it from the outside be it a a doctor, a sibling, a spouse, or a friend. Even when they see something wrong on the surface of the body, a bleeding wound for example, they don’t ‘see’ the pain, which in their mind may or may not be as severe as the person claims. And when there is nothing to see on the surface, in the case of migraine or neuropathic pain, their doubt only increases. Even if the outsider believes the sufferer, it is difficult for him/her to imagine what it’s like or how severe it is (how easily the pain-free forget past pains); or at times, the outsider simply doesn’t want to hear about the pain over and over again because what’s extremely important to the victim is not so important to the observer. Thus when one combines a sufferer who intensely feels his pain with an outsider who can’t see or feel it at all, the result is a widening of the normal barrier that exists between people. And as a result a great wall suddenly springs up even though the sufferer may be surrounded by the people he/she loves most in the world. That’s when the sufferer might as well be on another planet where his/her screams cannot be heard nor the tears seen nor the anguish felt. For an outsider is simply incapable of having any idea of what’s happening on the sufferer’s side of the wall, a place where the utter aloneness can hurt as much as the physical pain itself.”

“Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.” ~Job 16:6  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1339. There is an ancient tribal proverb I once heard in India. It says that before we can see properly we must first shed our tears to clear the way. ~Libba Bray

Glory be to you, O God,
for the grace of new beginnings
placed before me in every moment
and encounter, good or bad, of life.
~Edited quote by
John Philip Newell

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Wood as found in the natural world is, in and of itself, beautiful; the same is true of marble. However if wood is to be used in the making of a violin for example, some tools needed to hollow and shape the wood accordingly are chisels, knives, saws, scrapers. groove cutters, hole reamers, and peg shavers. And some tools needed to gouge and shape something out of marble are chisels, hammers, drills, rasps, files, and abrasive sandpapers, all of which in both instances can and do draw blood and extract the proverbial “pound of flesh” if used on we mortals. And the point of such is? Well, in a way these processes correlate to human suffering and what it can and often does achieve in a person’s life. For it is not until the wood is gouged out and shaped that its “voice,” AKA it’s exquisite sound, is released from the wood to bless our ears, and it is not until someone like Michelangelo gouges around and in a piece of marble that magnificent angels appear from deep inside the marble’s being to bless our eyes. So it was that when reading a comment today by a fellow blogger who has endured much “gouging,” it finally dawned on me in light of her struggles and mine as well as those of others that it is not until the soul is “gouged” out that we mortals are able to give “voice” in some way to garnered wisdom and profound truths. Thus trials should be seen as gifts to be embraced and celebrated, not mourned and regretted. However being appreciative of pain is something most of us find difficult at best. Clearly though “had the eye no tear, the soul would have no rainbow” nor would the dark depths of the soul ever come into healing light. The passages of Scripture below as well as others tell us to be “content” and even “thankful” about losses and painful trials for they are blessings brought forth from the scraping, gouging, and shaping the Lord has done and continues to do in our souls in order to set free “earth” angels, to give life to sacred and powerful voices, to fulfill ordained purposes, and to help bring about the memory of what we left in childhood that my dear friend calls the “soft glory of our being.”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. ~James 1:2-4  ✝

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. ~Romans 12:12  ✝

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~2 Corinthians 12:10  ✝

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~1 Peter 5:10  ✝

**Image found on the Internet; special effects done on by me on spicy

1309. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

So I like best of all autumn,
because its tone is mellower,
its colors are richer,
and it is tinged with a little sorrow.
~Lin Yutang

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If I had to pick a recent, appropriate emblem for deep November, it would be the mellow richness of this rose. Though a wild west wind has blown today, the day I found it, dawn had broken under a heavy fog, and when the mist lifted, this rose and everything else in the garden was left completely soaked. It was as if the heavens had rained down a multitude of tears and tinged the landscape with more than the little autumn sorrow of which Yutang speaks. I for one have to wonder if, with daybreak coming later and later and darkness falling earlier and earlier, a garden knows that the year has almost completed another turn around the sun. If so and because the longing to be, to exist as an expression of the Divine Presence, can be seen in all Creation, that longing is not easily given up.

As this year draws to its end
we give thanks for the gifts it has brought
and how they came inlaid within,
where neither time nor tide
could touch them, and we also thanks
for the days when the veil lifted
and the soul could see delight;
when a quiver caressed the heart
in the sheer exuberance of being here.
-Excerpted and edited lines
by John O’Donohoe

When we take time to look beyond the trials of life, we see God’s blessings and realize that daily we continue to be given endowments of grace from the Host of the universe. From unmistakable “quivers that caress the heart” we know that we are not alone. We know that we belong to God and recognize a longing within us to touch Him. We know that He sits at the heart of life, and from there works at bringing to fruition that which He inlaid in us from the beginning. We know too that He is beside us in every moment and that our sadness is His sadness, our joy His joy, our loss His loss, our victory His victory.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim His name; make known among the nations what He has done. ~1 Chronicles 16:8  ✝

1201. The bee’s life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water. ~Karl Von Frisch

Collaboration is the essence of life.
The wind, bees and flowers work together,
to spread the pollen. Mindfulness gives us 
the
opportunity to work with the cosmic collaboration.
~Amit Ray

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Bee Prayer
Winged spirit of sweetness
I call on you.
Teach me the ways of
Transformation and fertilization,
The path from pollen to sweetest honey.
Teach me to taste the essence
Of each place I alight,
Carrying that essence with me
To continue Creation’s cycle.
Teach me the ways of hope,
Reminding me that what seems impossible
May yet be achieved.
Flitting tears of the heavens,
Draw me ever closer to the wisdom
Hidden within beauty.
Give me flight and sunlight,
Passion and productivity,
Cooperation with those around me
And sharpened strength to defend my home.
May I spiral out from my heart
Searching for what I need
And return there once again
To turn those lessons into nourishment.
~Author Unknown

Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. ~Proverbs 24:14  ✝

**Bee images via Pinterest; collage created by Natalie

1196. Every man has his secret sorrows of which the world knows not… ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I want to weep, she thought.
I want to be comforted.
I’m so tired of being strong.
I want to be foolish and 
frightened for once.
Just for a small while,
that’s all….a day…..an hour.
~George R.R. Martin

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My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
~Corrie ten Boom

According to mom, I started walking around the age of 9 months, and a week or so after that she had to take me in for a check up with the doctor. During that visit he gave me one of those routine immunizations in my little derriere. When I got home that day, I went to take a few steps and fell landing right on the area of the injection. It hurt so much that mom said it was a few days before I’d try to walk again. The image above is a photo she took that day as I sat contemplating my sorrow. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it has been my lot in life to deal with lots of physical pain, and from time to time I have to endure periods when it’s more prolonged and intense than usual. Sadly I can make no more sense of pain and suffering now than I did that day in the photo. Though I am a strong person, as of late there have been lots of tears, lots of doubts, lots of questions, and lots of needs for comfort. So tonight, I’m taking Shakespeare’s advice from MACBETH to see if that helps, “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. ~Psalm 199:28  ✝

1192. Water lilies, Monet’s passion written in whispering tears as dragonflies press the air into a whir. ~Edited and adapted excerpts from poems by Beth St. Clair

Lilies perch upon their little islands
To flower on pads of green in the water
Amid the dance of dragonflies by day
And fireflies that grace the dark of night.
~Natalie Scarberry

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If you have forgotten water lilies floating
On a dark lake among mountains in the afternoon shade,
If you have forgotten their wet, sleepy fragrance,
Then you can return and not be afraid.

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But if you remember, then turn away forever
To the plains and the prairies where pools are far apart,
There you will not come at dusk on closing water lilies,
And the shadow of mountains will not fall on your heart.
~Sara Teasdale

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Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:5  ✝

**Image of one of Monet’s water lily paintings and his signature found on the Interent; collage by Natalie

1191. Seasons of the heart…

Grief can be the garden of compassion.
If you keep your heart open through everything,
your pain can become your greatest ally
in your life’s search for love and wisdom.
~Rumi

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Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.
~Kahlil Gibran

Then I would still have this consolation–my joy in unrelenting pain–that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.~Job 6:10   ✝️