Sometimes it’s really hard for me to see the positive. Dealing with chronic physical pain quite often will taint the world that I see around me. It’s almost as if when this happens that I’ve put on a pair of clear glasses that have been completely smudged up. The biggest challenge that faces me everyday in the midst of this is to see the bright side of life.
On more days than not, I have wished others could understand how I really feel. From the outside, the only thing they might notice with me is the sadness in my eyes as it’s usually very difficult to place a smile on my face and laugh. All too often people will inquire if I’m ok when they see my somber state. While I know they mean well, it’s what happens during these inquiries that actually leads to an increased level of stress within me and in turn higher physical pain. Most will ask me if I’ve tried this doctor or that doctor, this alternative practice of healing or that alternative practice of healing, this medication or that medication, and some will even come up with their own explanation of what they think it is that I have. Over the past three years since its inception, I have become more of a hypochondriac at times when these people will play medical doctors and give me a diagnosis that they feel I should go look into more. Sadly, all of this does nothing more than further fog up the glasses that get in front of my eyesight.
Until one is faced with dealing in their life with daily, intense, chronic pain, their level of understanding will most likely be at a minimum. There are times I demonstrate to people what it’s like by pinching a part of their body so hard that they are wincing in pain and then I don’t let go. I’ll ask them next what they are thinking about as I’m doing it and 100 percent of the time it’s always the pain. I then finish by explaining what it’s like to function every day with a ton of that type of pain going on within me. Thankfully, this explanation will often help in that understanding.
Because of my own understanding now of what it’s like to endure chronic pain, I have grown to have a deep level of compassion for those who are going through their own levels of it. That in itself is one of the first things that I began to look at with positivity since this all began. I once was a very close-minded, and somewhat ignorant individual who made fun of people who were disabled, injured, handicapped, or for that matter, just different than me. I’m so far from being that person anymore and I’m grateful to God for having allowed me to experience what it is that I have for that reason alone.
Being grateful is just one part though of how I keep on trudging along in all of this. The other is trying to be as positive as possible and looking for the bright side of life, even when it seems too daunting. I pay attention now to flowers popping up out of the ground, to trees budding and blooming, to my partner’s cat purring on my lap or rolling around on the ground in delight, to sun rays descending down through thick clouds, to friends calling me or e-mailing me out of the clear blue just to say hi, to good samaritans who do random acts of kindness for me or others, to warm embraces by my partner, to rainbows that appear out of nowhere, and to so much more. It’s these little things that make the big differences in my life and help me to keep going forward, one day at a time.
While I don’t know how long I’m meant to endure this, nor do I really understand God’s long term plans for me at this time, I at least can continue to do my best to look for the positive. Even in the worst of storms I have found there is great beauty. I just have to look for it. There is good in everything and everybody. I see that a lot clearer now. But even better, I know at some point, God willing, I will be able to see the bright side of life free of all hinderances including from those smudge-filled glasses.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson