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Oct 15, 2008

No Pain, No Gain… WHAT?

“Mostly, I remember this: His brass knuckles flashing in the afternoon light; how cold they felt with the first few blows and how quickly they warmed with my blood. Getting thrown against the wall, a nail where a framed picture may have hung once jabbing at my back. Sohrab screaming. Tabla, harmonium, a dil-roba. Getting hurled against the wall. The knuckles shattering my jaw. Choking on my own teeth, swallowing them, thinking about all the countless hours I’d spent flossing and brushing. Getting hurled against the wall. Lying on the floor, blood from my split upper lip staining the mauve carpet, pain ripping through my belly, and wondering when I’d be able to breathe again. The sound of my ribs snapping like the tree branches Hassan and I used to break to swordfight like Sinbad in those old movies. Sohrab screaming. The side of my face slamming against the corner of the television stand. That snapping sound again, this time just under my left eye. Music. Sohrab screaming. Fingers grasping my head back, the twinkle of stainless steel. Here they come. That snapping sound yet again, now my nose. Biting down in pain, noticing how my teeth didn’t align like they used to. Getting kicked. Sohrab screaming.”

This is a passage of redemption for the main character taken from the book I recently finished reading by Khaled Hosseini titled, The Kite Runner. He finally received the peace he longed for after getting this massive beating. We read this for my book club and discussed it last night. The book is amazing on so many levels. The main underlying theme is loyalty, friendship, relationships, and forgiveness. I recommend it if you haven’t read it.

stomachPunchThere have been times in my life when I felt like I was being beat up, even though it wasn’t this physical beating to a pulp, but emotionally I have felt bruised, kicked, and stomach punched. It’s funny (I guess that is the right word) how with your emotions, physical feelings can exude from your body and you actually feel as though physical blows have been thrown at you: your heart hurts, your stomach is nauseated, your head hurts, your eyes blur and tear up. Sometimes it’s during these emotional and mental “beatings” that we grow, that we learn another of life’s lessons, and that we build character.

The choices that we make during those times are important. How we react in that moment can affect the final outcome, not only for ourselves but for others as well. We know that our decisions, no matter how trivial they may seem also continue in a chain reaction down the line and can affect many others even beyond our own world, beyond our realm of consideration. So how do we make wise decisions during those times? What is our foundation to return to when we want to know right from wrong?

Yes, I do believe the Bible is the foundation of truth and knowledge of right from wrong. But ultimately our perception of that truth for everyone is a little different. I think we return to what we have been taught from a child up. We learn from our parents or caregivers, we learn from our closest siblings and friends. I know I consider all the golden nuggets of instruction my mom would give me over my younger years. I still recall them to this day, not to use them as my excuse for what I do or how I choose; but to hold strong to them and say my mom was such a wonderful woman with great wealth that I want to live like she would want me to live. She wasn’t one of great wealth monetarily, by no definition of the word, but oh so rich in wisdom and her many life lessons as a single mom. I want to live my life to say, “See mom, you taught me, that I can do this, if I know where I place my trust.”

So here is my prayer for today.

“God help me to make wise decisions. Even when I feel like I am getting ‘beat up’ emotionally, help me to look to you and instead of reacting or lashing out in my pain (like I am so tempted to do, wanting to retaliate and hurt that person), help me to consider taking the blow and allowing you to use it to ‘chisel off’ another piece of me as you continue to ‘make me’ into what You want me to be.”

I mean in retrospect, I did ask for it, remember?

Now it’s your turn:

Have you felt beat up lately?

Has there been a specific experience in your life where emotionally you literally could feel the physical effects from what was being thrown at you, as if you were being “stomach punched?” How did you react?

Photo Credit:http://www.memphisflyer.com/binary/bc58f16a/stomach%20punch2%20jpg.jpg


Trish said...

Oh my goodness....everyday! And yes I feel the physical pain off of it -- I try to think I don't but the not being able to carry on a conversation without having to take a deep breath to choke back the tears tells me otherwise. And you know me enough to I don't react very well...and I can never make a decision - fear grips my heart to much to do that - and really it's in fear of the outcome - that would probably make me better....great blog....got me thinking!!!

T said...

Wow. Um yeah!

I try not to see myself as a victim. I actually wrote about how I try to see life today.

Great post and great book!

dadshouse said...

I don't feel beat up emotionally. Somehow, I grew up able to go to that place of still calm in the center of my being. I do that whenever I sense a storm brewing around me, or an emotional punch going at me. I try to yield, rather than resist. Of course, this doesn't always work. I do get angry sometimes, or frustrated. But then I head to that still place of calm, and everything passes. If you give love, you always have love.

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

The time that I vividly remember the physical punch of an emotional wound was when we learned that our first daughter had died in my womb. I felt that physical punch for months afterwards.

I know there have been other times as well, but that was obviously the most vivid recollection that I have.

Praise God for His goodness and faithfulness in seeing us through.

Gary "Big Hokie" Cope said...

I read The Kite Runner this summer and thought it was a great book. I wrote a basic review of it on my blog.

As for feeling the physical effects of an emotional beating, yeah - I've been there and unfortunately, pretty recently. But your prayer was perfect and I couldn't have come up with a better one for these situations with which God challenges us.

As hard as it is to believe sometimes, especially when you are smack in the middle of a mental beatdown, God doesn't give us any more than we can handle. And when you think you can't handle it by yourself, that's when you turn to Him. Easier said than done, especially for the self-sufficient types ... who shall remain nameless. *cough* me *cough* :D

That which does not kill us, only makes us stronger - or something like that. Whenever life sticks its foot out from behind the bushes and trips me so that I fall flat on my face, I try to look back at the previous face-plant moments in my life and how I managed to get through them. And just as I did prior, I will get through the next round of tough times so long as I have my son, my family and my friends.

Hang tough and keep the faith!

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