I was grateful for every moment, every hour, without pain. An accident in my 20’s left me in near constant agony. My damage was not obvious to the outside world, so people often thought me weak, a malingerer, unmotivated. None of them could understand how such a condition rules and ruins a life.
I was only able to sleep a few hours at a time, before the throbbing and aching and burning awakened me. I tried to calm myself as best I could, so I might sleep again. Sometimes, I was too exhausted even to eat. I could not work and was forced to depend on others to survive. Although I did not particularly enjoy alcohol, I often drank, simply to calm my jagged nerve endings. All of this wore on the health of my body and my mind.
My tolerance for physical suffering increased over the years, but the pain always managed to outpace it. Such torment was my constant companion. I could see no permanent escape from this except death.
Those who lived in physical comfort and ease could not understand.
An old woman lived nearby. She had suffered with a painful affliction for many years, and then, miraculously, her pain ceased. She understood. Often, she would feed me, care for me out of compassion. We prayed together that I would someday experience the same kind of miracle. It never came.
Pain feels different to everyone, but for each, it is real. Pain is there to make us grateful for ease, over an hour or over many lifetimes.