Patience has not necessarily ever been my strong suit in life, but, it is something I’ve cultivated a lot more of over the past five years or so through my spiritual recovery work. Unfortunately, it’s still been an extremely difficult thing to have on those days when my pain levels are really high.
Just last week for example, I woke up and felt like I had been brought through the wringer during the previous night’s sleep. As I attempted to start my day in agony, I found myself feeling on edge with everything, and I do mean everything.
It started immediately when my partner returned home around the lunch hour after running a few errands. I had asked him to buy me some top soil for the yard, yet I discovered he had bought garden soil instead. But rather than being grateful for the attempt, I reacted negatively with strong criticism. Shortly thereafter, he presented me with a surprise, a bag filled with an ornament for our garden and a few other miscellaneous things, none of which I needed. So instead of thanking him for the gesture, I snapped at him over his expenditure of money I felt he didn’t need to spend. And snapped is probably an understatement, because in all reality, I used the “f” word a number of times, as well as a bunch of other swear words too. To put it bluntly, I was a complete jerk and seriously ungrateful, all of which was directly attributed to the level of pain I was experiencing at the time.
The rest of my day after that followed suit. I became impatient with people in lines at the places I was at, with the cars on the roads I drove on, with the friends I hung out with, and with just about everything else too, which is not the norm for me on days when my pain isn’t so great. In fact, most have said I seem to be a pretty patient person in areas they often struggle with. But being in pain is like being on a short fuse. In other words, it’s like being a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any moment.
I’m not proud of this and honestly, it’s definitely my biggest flaw and frustration right now in life. What makes it even harder to deal with is those days when my pain returns to calmer levels, as it’s then I tend to look back and see all the mistakes I made in my impatience over my pain, and usually feel a lot of despair over it.
Being patient is truly difficult on every level for any person who deals with chronic pain that’s for sure, and it’s something that also feels downright impossible to practice on those days when the pain reaches exorbitant levels. The main solution I’ve found to deal with this when it happens is to isolate, because at least then I don’t end up taking it out on a bunch of other innocent people. Sadly though, because I live with my partner, I can’t totally escape everyone. The result of which is me occasionally reacting in impatience to silly things like receiving garden soil instead of top soil.
Look, I know I’m not expected to have the patience of a saint and it probably seems like I’m beating myself up in my words here. And maybe I am. That’s why I generally find myself doing a lot of praying these days, especially when my pain is high, saying short prayers like “Jesus, please help me be patient with others.” I also utilize the amends process every time my impatience still gets the best of me, because the last thing I want to do is make someone else feel as bad as I do inside.
Regardless, I continue to do my best to remain patient on all days, especially those when my pain is so great. And one day soon, when my pain is finally gone, I believe all of this work I’m doing now to remain patient will pay off. Because it’s then I’ll have a level of patience in life that’s far greater than how I’d be with a life that had never experienced any pain at all…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson