The pain of the living



I took out my pair of pink latex gloves and prepared myself for an operation that on any given day I would love to skip — doing the dishes. It’s better with the gloves on; your hands don’t get dry, your nail paint doesn’t chip and it’s much less disgusting clearing the food bits when compared to doing that with bare hands. And it’s much safer or so I thought before I cut my finger cleaning the sharp edges of a container.


As the blood oozed out stark in comparison to the pale pink gloves, I had to bite back words that on any given day I would have yelled at the container had it been a living-breathing being. Though it would have been silly to watch; me, a rational human being (or so we suppose), yelling obscenities at a piece of manufactured plastic. While my finger throbbed, the culprit lay motionless.


Do you remember the episode from the Grey’s Anatomy where the doctors wheel in a girl who can’t feel any pain? She could put her hand in freezing water, one that would make your or mine hands fall off, or be beaten with a baseball bat and still experience no pain. If you haven’t seen the episode, check out this clip: Her condition is called Congenital insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA) and the main characteristics is the inability to feel pain and temperature, and decreased or absent sweating (as mentioned here:




Back to the point I am trying to make — it’s okay to experience pain, in fact, it’s vital that one experiences pain. Why? Because it’s this pain that differentiates us, living, from the dead. It’s this pain that makes life dear, worth living, the only way of living in this very broken world. It’s only when we are in pain that we kiss, hug and cherish the things that on any other day are usually taken for granted. Like my finger; it might have never received so much attention and care as it did that day.


Pain makes one realise what one’s real priorities in life are. He thinks he has cancer because the doctor found this abnormal growth near his spine. Like majority of us accustomed to thinking the worst, he too is scared even though he won’t admit his fears out loud. I am more of an acquaintance than a friend, but it’s this pain that he is going through that makes me want to care, makes me want to pray that he gets the strength and tell him again and again that everything is going to be okay. Pain that draws me out to be more of a human than I have ever been.




Pain demands to be felt, as John Green said; because when you embrace what is tearing you in million pieces can you fully understand what living fully is. My father recently retired from the Army, but before that we would usually never have the time to sit and talk; I always felt like he was more of a stranger than a father that the daughters usually have wrapped around their fingers. That was until one day, he came into our rooms, sat down and with a face that was ready to burst in tears any moment, told us about the pain he felt at not caring for his dad enough. “I regret not doing more than I did. And this regret I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.”


“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.” ~Unknown.


Something happened after that conversation he had with me and my sister. His pain tore the barriers, the walls behind which we always found him. His pain got us closer, the same pain that would have been meaningless if any one of us was dead. 


So try not to run away from it, try not to hide it in the closet. Let it come and let it soak you from head to toe, experience that pain because it’s the only privilege that the living have over the dead. 


Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

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