Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Affliction

Despite the title of this post - I will celebrate the day. Another snow day - another Winter Wonderland outside to revel in all day. Another day at my laptop - the place I feel so comfortable at these days.
Yesterday was a difficult day. I had to work until 9PM for conferences and did not see one parent. Sad. The roads were horrible coming home. You would think when your car is only a few years old, has good tires and sand bags in the back that it would stop when you pressed on the brakes - but I always feel like I'm the only one sliding into intersections and pumping the pedal and saying nasty words to my little Rav. It was harrowing.
But the worst part of the day was that, for unknown reasons, I could barely walk yesterday. My left hip was in so much pain that I had to hobble slowly through the halls. Embarrassing. If I'd just sprained my ankle, say - I could just say - I sprained my ankle. But when everyone asked what happened - uh- I don't know!!! The two cortisone injections rejected their role and betrayed me. It's too long of a story to tell. Back to the doctor today.
Somehow I am slowly realizing how this experience is changing me, and I have hope that I am learning something. I was reading some essays by the famous French writer Simone Weil. She wrote :
Affliction is an uprooting of life, a more or less attentuated equivalent of death, made irresistibly present to the soul by the attack or immediate apprehension of physical pain. . . and nothing else has the power to chain down our thoughts.
Affliction is something specific and impossible to compare with anything else, just as nothing can convey the idea of sound to the deaf and dumb. And, as for those who have themselves been mutilated by affliction, they are in no state to help anyone at all and are almost incapable of even wishing to do so. Thus, compassion for the afflicted in an impossiblity.
THAT'S what bothers me the most. The way pain causes you to be self-absorbed and unable to be of use to anyone. Yesterday when one of my students showed up at my door during my lunch crying and kicking the wall because someone took his lunch - I had to practically crawl up the stairs and down the long hallway to investigate the problem. I wasn't as interested in solving his pain as my own. I hate that.
Weil continues: Affliction causes God to be absent for a time, more absent than a dead man, more absent than light in the utter darkness of a cell.
I think she is describing depression here and I would agree. Depression to me felt like God had abandoned me. However, I am recognizing how pain can easily lead to depression.
Affliction hardens and discourages because, like a red-hot iron, it stamps the soul to its very depths with the contempt, the disgust, and even the self-hatred and sense of guilt and defilement which crime logically should produce but actually does not.
The people you love and live with get to suffer too. As much as I try not to whine and cry, my husband has commented on my tendancy to be in bad moods these past few months. I want to say "Duh!" But then again, it seems unfair that he should have to suffer along with me. Being a man, he wants to fix it, but even the four doctors I've been to can't seem to do that - yet.
I wrote this before I read Weil, but we seem to concur:
Affliction
Pain
physical, bodily pain
grinds your spirit
scarifies your soul
harasses your plans
hounds your brain
vexes your senses.
Pain
give me morphine
give me oxycontin
give me knowledge
walking, moving
spread out my limbs
give me my life again.
Pain
give me doctor
without a damned perscription
an expert on a real body
look at me, move my parts
discover my affliction
take my insurance.
Pain
make me understand
what it's for
the reason I have this human
fallible, fragile body
what can I learn
from pain?

7 comments:

gkgirl said...

wow...i hope that you are feeling better soon...

but at the same time,
that poem is awesome!

:)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I can sure relate to your words---So Beautifully Expressed...Living with pain is incredibly debilitating and demoralizing, too. And everything you wrote about it is so very true. Let me add, it 'trys' ones patience and wears you down in certain ways like nothing else....

I hope they figure out what is causing you this pain and fix it, pronto!

Thanks for writing this and for the amazing quotation, too!

Kelly Jene said...

Diane, you couldn't have a more timely post if you tried... at least for me. The last two days have seen me returned to the worst of my pain. I can't help but get whiney at times and grumpy. Both your words and Weil's are true of affliction. I will be praying for you, sister.

happyone said...

Wow, I am so sorry to hear about all your pain.
Sure hope the doctors will be able to figure out what is causing it and make you strong again.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

Diane, I'm sorry to hear about all this pain, and maybe it's one of those shown veils that we have to learn how to overcome from our dearest father up above!

Hang in there! I'll send you some sand hotness!

Rest your mind and body, and please feel better soon!
Always,
Elizabeth

chasing fireflies said...

Diane, imagine breathing air into the space where it originates. Woman hold their life experience and pain in their hips, try to imagine the your breathe entering the area of the pain.

I will pray for you. It sounds like it is a very large presence of your daily life.

CJM-R said...

I guess we have a lot in common. I am in the special ed field as well.

I am dealing with knee and hip pain. I am taking Feldenkrais movement lessons. It has helped some, but I have a long way to go. The recent cortisone shots did not help the knee, so I haven't considered them for the hips.

I will take the advice of the blogger above. Makes sense.

The Road Less Traveled in the one book that I have read over and over again at different stages in my life.
Good night.
Lena