Chronic Pain

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had a lot to learn about that condition. In short, it is chronic but not progressive. By contrast, osteoarthritis is chronic but it is progressive. So the pain I feel in my elbows from fibro will not get worse over time. In fact, it tends to come and I am always glad when it goes away again.  The pain in my hands and feet from OA does get worse over time. Rarely does OA pain go away, though there are times I am not as aware of it. One of the first prayers I came across after the fibro diagnosis was written by Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest and trained as a paleontologist and geologist.

Oh God, grant that I may understand that it is You who are painfully parting the fibers of my being in order to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance.

 

fibers

I found the full prayer some years later on-line. (When I was diagnosed we had no internet).  It reads:

When the signs of age begin to mark my body
(and still more when they touch my mind);
when the illness that is to diminish me or carry me off
strikes from without or in born within me;
when the painful moment comes
in which I suddenly awaken
to the fact that I am ill or growing old;
and, above all, at that last moment
when I feel that I am losing hold of myself
and am absolutely passive within the hands
of the great unknown forces that have formed me;
in all these dark moments, O God,
grant that I may understand that it is You
(provided my faith is strong enough)
who are painfully parting the fibers of my being
in order to penetrate to the very marrow
of my substance and bear me away within Yourself. Amen.

During the time of diagnosis I felt as if I lost most of my friends. The charismatic movement was very big in Christianity at the time and I was one of them. When my friends could not pray fibro out of me they assumed there was hidden sin somewhere in my life. Meanwhile, the Lord had assured me repeatedly saying, “I will be with you in this.” And He has been with me.

Many years later I had to re-affirm my commitment to God and I wrote this prayer:

“I have determined that this day, each time I am drawn up short by pain, I will praise You, for I love You better than life – even better than quality of life.”

He has accompanied me each step of this life and He will not fail me now. I have learned to let Him ‘part the fibers of my being, in order to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance and bear me away within’ Himself. Yield to this Holy Touch. You will not regret the yielding.

 

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