By Kerry Smith
Editor’s Note: Kerry Smith is a former minister, a professional artist, and has suffered with chronic pain for 14 years. He has lectured and written on the topic of chronic pain for several years. Here’s a link to his art studio website.
The sounds of laughter echo from the kitchen as the last bits of cranberry sauce and gravy are poured into the bowls. In the den, the sounds of the Thanksgiving Day Parade with singers and dancers and entertainers immerse the mood of the day. The kids run in and out of the back door playing football or bouncing on the trampoline. And for us, for we who suffer, what we hear and feel is anything but a joyous occasion. To top it off, we have yet another holiday just around the corner, one where the celebration of the coming of the Son of God into our sticky situations or of other kinds of celebrations during the month of December will occur and we will struggle to find any resolve for our pain. Santa Claus is not coming to give us release of pain. The Son of God will not be able to give us the miracle we seek. And we will not be able to experience the “Merriest of Christmas’s!” Welcome to the pain sufferers guide for celebrating holidays!
Please, if you think this is cynical and you do not suffer, don’t waste your breath with a lecture for such anger or frustration that I am espousing. This has now been 15 years of suffering with pain for me. This week alone will present me with yet another MRI and a nerve conduction study on my legs of which I am losing control of. Don’t get me wrong about my desire to celebrate. I have a beautiful family with a wife that loves me and a son and daughter that cherish me and I will do my damnedest to create a Christmas they can remember. At times, those people are the only ones carrying me in this insanity and I hurt knowing that in some way they feel helpless in this struggle. I love to hunt this time of year, but now I have to rely on the goodness of others and you and I both know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Our home has rotten wood on the exterior. The pain is chipping. The windows are cracked. Our wooden fence is rotting and falling down. Projects once started remain unfinished. Santa will not be coming to fix any of it.
There is not going to be the ending of a feel good story here because it is our story, the story of people who start hurting one day and spend the rest of their life in pain. There is no cure. Medicine which may give some relief is taken away without justification now by politicians unwilling to embrace our journey. Caretakers stop taking care of friends or loved ones because there is no happy ending to this fairy tale. They grow tired of hearing about our constant pain and stop asking the four word question that they really don’t want to know the answer of in “how are you doing?, unable to fully understand our situation and frankly, who blames them. This is not cancer unfortunately that at least has a chance for cure. Can you name someone who has been rescued from this hell-hole of pain? We have not been felled by a heart attack. No broken bone that has a cast. It is pain. It is long suffering, soul wrenching, unexplained, incurable pain. Share this with those who are fortunate enough to not have chronic pain. Expect nothing in response.
It is what it is.