Wouldn’t it be nice to feel no pain? What if we were able to go through life without feeling any of the bad stuff?
What would that look like?
The Girl Who Felt No Pain
Over the years there have been many headlines of kids who have a rare condition: they can’t feel pain. It wasn’t long ago that Oprah spent time with a girl by the name of Gabby Gingras who had this condition. Although it’s rare, it does happen.
In fact, when I was in elementary school, I remember hearing about a girl who had the same condition. The other kids and I all thought it was the best thing. Imagine never feeling the pain of scraping your knee on the playground or having the tears roll down your cheek as someone knocked you to the ground with the playground ball.
We all marveled at the rare luck this girl had. Why was she so lucky, we wondered, all wishing we could be like her.
That would soon change.
The Value of Pain
To a bunch of elementary school students, we saw this as the holy grail: if we scraped our knee, it wouldn’t stop us. If a bully punched us, we wouldn’t flinch. If a fly ball hit us, we wouldn’t cry.
Seeing our fascination with the subject, our teacher took this moment to lead us to a better understanding of the situation. Sure, this girl would not feel the pain of any of these scenarios, but she also wouldn’t be alerted to any problems.
Her scraped knee might not be discovered and it might get an infection. An unfelt punch might break a bone that she wouldn’t know would need addressing. A fly ball might cause a bruise that she wouldn’t know to avoid aggravating.
Pain, it seems, adds value. Do we really want to feel no pain? Absolutely! But it’s the pain that alerts us to something wrong.
Pain is the alarm system in our brain. It tells us things aren’t as they should be. It let’s us know that something is messed up.
Often, it’s difficult to deal with pain because sometimes it’s not the pain that hurts, but the isolation and loneliness it causes. It makes it hard to be productive when you’re in pain adding more trauma to a bad situation.
But pain let’s us know that something needs addressing. Pain let’s us know that we need to get something fixed. Pain keeps us from going obliviously on while things get worse.
Do we really want to feel no pain? No, because pain is a necessary part of life. It helps us. It enlightens us. It clues us in to how to make things better.
Sometimes we just need to embrace the pain so that we can find the healing we need and change our world for the better.