Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tears of Pain

This has been a particularly painful Easter for me. The pain of chronic pancreatitis can be beyond description - it has been likened to that of a heart attack but it keeps on going. I have known relief since having a celiac plexus block performed at University College hospital in London last September. The slow release deposit of local anaesthetic combined with steroids gave me three months of pain relief. Then in January it was done again, but was not quite so effective this time. It lasted for just 7 weeks, and so I am back on a drug called Fentanyl - reputed to be 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine!

Thankfully I now have a date to go into the UCL hospital (for the day) and have another one done, Tuesday April 8th. We are praying that this one will be at least as effective as the first, and perhaps even longer lasting.

I'm not ashamed to confess that this pain sometimes reduces me to tears - even if they are hidden and secret at the time. I was encouraged to discover yesterday that we humans are unique among the animals for the fact that we cry! Apparently, no other 'animal' (I don't feel like an animal even if I behave like it sometimes - and God's Word doesn't call me one) has the ability to shed tears like we do. This fact, like speech, walking on the moon and asking questions, are the marks of the Divine image in us and set us apart from the rest of creation.

Speaking of questions - I find it so comforting to recall that in the Easter story God's own Son cried out 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' He knows how I feel, and has sampled the salty taste of his own tears mixed with his own incredible pain. If my tears make me unique among creation, his understanding and death in my place make him unique among the 'gods'.

God gave you those tear ducts. Don't be ashamed to use them.