Theology

living reminders of uncomfortable realities

???????????????????????????????????????????

I wrote this post a few weeks ago and hesitated to put it up, but after reading R.A. Savilla’s account at Rachel Held Evan’s blog, and the overwhelming response to it, I’ve decided that this needs to be said.

The story of Abraham and Isaac, if we’re being honest, makes Christians uncomfortable. If you’re not the least bit bothered by God telling Abraham to perform a human sacrifice and Abraham being willing to do it, I’m suspicious of your humanity. God told Abraham to slaughter his son as a sacrifice, and he almost did it, hoping against hope.

I’m still not entirely sure what to make of this story, but I am familiar with what many people consider to be the triumphant ending — at the very last moment God sends an angel to step in, and he provides a ram for the sacrifice. It’s become a narrative we use to talk about our lives– sometimes, it looks like God is asking us to do something so difficult we can’t even wrap our brains around it, but he will always swoop in at the very last moment and provide a solution, or to save us from whatever we were about to face. And hopefully he’ll do this in the most spectacular, most miraculous, way possible.

Many of our narratives revolve around Abraham in this story– doing the hard thing that God asks of us, even when we don’t fully understand why. We don’t have all the information, so we just have to trust that there’s something more going on, something larger at stake.

But I’ve always wondered about Isaac.

We don’t know much about him in this story– we don’t know how old he was, we don’t know how much he understood about his father’s God, we don’t know how much God has told Isaac about the Abramic Covenant. All we have is a question:

“My father, behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

We don’t know how he responded to Abraham placing him on the altar he had just helped his father build. We don’t know if he was begging his father not to do this, not to kill him. We don’t know if he only cried, or if he did anything at all.

Most of all, we don’t like asking the question of the moment– where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a medical condition called Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome, complicated by IBS and endometriosis. This means that, for most of the month, I experience uncomfortable, but most of the time, manageable pain. It’s a dull ache that most of the time I can ignore. I’ve learned to live with it– to not eat a bunch of dairy, to make sure that I drink as much water as possible, to eat enough fiber, to walk and move even when I don’t particularly feel like it, to not jostle myself, to never run, to take things slowly and don’t push myself. I always have to sleep on my right side– if I lay on my left side, the internal bleeding caused by the endometriosis shifts to a new spot, and the pain intensifies.

But, during my period, all hell breaks loose. I live in absolute dread of my period coming. I try not to think about it too much, because simply thinking about it makes my anxiety skyrocket. I start taking anti-inflammatory meds the week before, slowly building up to 800 mg a day. During my period, I have to take hydrocodone just to survive, but it barely even touches the pain. I take it not because it actually reduces my pain, but because it helps me not care so much.

I can’t move, hardly at all. If I’m home by myself, I keep the painkillers and food I can eat while lying down next to my bed. I try not to drink that much– if I have to go to the bathroom, I have to crawl there, and going to the bathroom is so excruciatingly painful it terrifies me and I usually end up sobbing because the pain is so bad. At moments, the pain is breathtaking, and all I can do is cry. There have been times that I have actually passed out and gone into shock from the pain itself. It starts out pretty localized– but, over the first two days, it spreads all the way up to my ribcage and down to my thighs. I have trouble sleeping, and, occasionally, I’ll have cramping so bad it wakes me up– you can put your hand on my stomach and feel the spasms. Sometimes, you can see the cramps clench everything in my lower abdomen; you can see things jerking and twitching just below the skin.

I don’t usually talk about this.

Over the years, I’ve built up a c’est la vie approach to my medical problems. I shrug it off most of the time if anyone asks, which is rare, because I tend not to tell people.

I learned not to talk about this the hard way.

In small groups, in churches, when people ask for prayer, there have been times where I’ve mentioned my health problems. A long time ago, I used to ask people to pray that they would simply go away, that I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore. I used to ask that they would pray that God heal me. But, now that I’ve been dealing with this for over ten years– about 150 periods– if I ask for prayer from anyone, it’s simply a prayer for strength.

I’ve stopped doing even that, usually– because then many people will confidently assert that no, they won’t pray for strength. I don’t need strength– I need God’s healing touch on my life. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” they’ll chirp with a promise that I’ll be on their minds every morning. And, a few weeks or a few months later, I’ll bump into them again, and they’ll inevitably ask how I’m doing. And I’ll shrug and say, “oh, about the same.”

I’m a living reminder that God doesn’t always answer prayer.

Oh, they’ll toss out the typical “sometimes God says wait,” but when you’ve been waiting for ten years and it’s only gotten worse instead of better, you have a tendency to think that’s a load of bunk. Or, their eyes will narrow slightly, and they’ll inform me that if I only believed, I would be healed.

I don’t tell them about the darkness– I don’t tell them about the fear and the terror that grips me in the week leading up to my period. I don’t tell them that, sometimes, when the pain is so bad I honestly don’t know how I can stand another second of it, that most of the time, I start screaming at God, at life, at the pain, at everything. I don’t tell them, that in my most desperate moments, that I pray for God to kill me. That I beg God for an answer– where is the lamb? Where is my at-the-last-moment spectacular rescue? Where is God reaching down in my life and sparing me from this?

The short answer– there’s never been, and he never has. There probably never will be.

On most days, I’ve accepted that.

And that makes people uncomfortable.

Because I’m the reality that life is largely a very painful experience, and, most of the time, it doesn’t go away. There’s nothing we can do to wish our lives magically better– we have to deal with the daily aches, the common pains, and move through our lives knowing that there are occasionally excruciatingly painful things outside of our control. I’m the reminder that no matter how much we think of ourselves as survivors, as fighters, that sometimes, it’s a battle with no end in sight– ever.

I’ve talked about my experience, but I’m actually rather lucky. My ongoing pain is something I can hide rather easily. I might disappear from church occasionally, but other than that no one really knows unless I tell them. But there are many, many people who can’t hide it, not really– but they try. They do everything they can to downplay their pain. They’re ashamed. They’re embarrassed. They don’t want to make the other people around them uncomfortable. Very often, these people are blamed for their pain– they must have done something to deserve it. God is punishing them. They just don’t have enough faith for God to heal them. Their prayer life must be weak. Maybe they’re not even a Christian.

And that’s wrong. Because we should be coming alongside the people who suffer, the people who mourn, the people who are in pain. And yes, it’s uncomfortable, and yes, it takes work, and yes– it necessarily means that we must accept the reality that not everything can be fixed. It means sacrificing our hero complexes and sitting down with that person in compassion and empathy– and realizing that we probably have no idea what that person is going through, but we don’t have to.

We just have to be there.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

  • As someone who has suffered from chronic pain most of my adult life, I feel like people in the church are more eager to see god do something because god, and not because I am in pain. I have a post coming soon about taking birth control pills for some of the pain. My friend announced I was doing better. Everyone was happy god was working but he wasn’t. I was taking pills everyone thought were abortifacient aka evil. And actually I was not really doing better yet, that was a misubderstanding. … That was the last time I was in that church, actually, though there was a lot more going on.

    • I actually have two posts ready to go on the exact same subject! The fact that BCPs are so completely demonized by many churches made my life so much more difficult than it had to be.

      • They have really helped me. Plus they were my gateway drug 😉 to anti depressants and mood stabilizers

  • Thank you for sharing.

  • Oh, and re Isaac, the way the story was told it always sounded like parents were saying they didn’t love god enough to sacrifice their kid ( same for god/Jesus except then it was loving people enough).. I felt like they were saying they WANTED to get to a place where they would be willing to sacrifice their kid, and as someone whose personality was sacrificed to purity culture ideals, it creeps me out.

  • I have experienced pain and a few times I have experienced intense pain, but I cannot imagine constant or regular pain as you describe; I am so sorry. I am also sorry that well-meaning Christians increase your difficulty with their insensitive responses to your on-going pain.

    People have difficulties, including pain, due to genetics, the environment, and other life situations, but I do not believe that God intervenes in our circumstances because we are Christians or because we pray. All I can say is that we can look forward to an eternal life free from pain, though that does not give much consolation when we hurt so badly in this life.

    Regarding Abraham, I don’t think God ever told him to sacrifice Isaac, though Abraham might have thought he did. It may have been common in his time that men thought their gods commanded them to sacrifice their sons. How difficult is it today to make decisions without a clear voice of God. I am sure it was the same for Abraham. And why should we think God spoke clearly to Abraham when he does not do so with us?

    The important thing is that Abraham did not sacrifice Isaac and came to understand that God was not that sort of god.

  • You are so true. I have health problems that have led to lots of pain (Lyme’s Disease being one of them). I had a guy once tell me, “if your faith was stronger, you’d be healed.” I’ve had people pray over my illnesses and pains. And you know what? God has never healed me miraculously. (Well, He did once…when I had carpal tunnel in my wrists and couldn’t even lift up a fork it hurt so bad. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t do anything. A friend prayed, and I literally felt my wrists snap back into place). But most of the time, when I’ve asked for healing, God has said NO.
    Do I believe in healing? Yes. I’ve seen it. Do I believe God ALWAYS heals? No. Sometimes, He lets us live with pain. Do I understand why? No.
    But I do know that my health problems have been one of the most crucial things in developing a deep, daily dependency on a God who has to give me strength sometimes to simply get through a work day or carrying groceries to the car. I need help. Daily. And my health problems have been a way to teach me that reliance–on others and on God.
    Do I wish I were completely better? Yes. But am I learning to daily surrender our concept of what a perfect life should be, and learning to live with joy in the midst of suffering? Yes. My health is one of my greatest curses…and one of my greatest blessings. Go figure.
    God is crazy-amazing like that. That He can and will use our pain in great and beautiful ways. That He can walk by my side daily and help me cope. That He never lets me go, He never gives up on me, and He is teaching me what it means to live in hope NO MATTER WHAT.
    But it isn’t easy. I’ll keep you in my prayers, Samantha.

  • P.S. You should read Soren Kierkegaard’s book “Fear And Trembling.” He was a Christian philosopher, and that whole book is about Abraham and Isaac. It’s beautiful. Helped me see the whole thing in a different light.

  • Michelle

    Oh man, I have PCOS too, and it makes my periods a living nightmare – although not as bad as you, admittedly. I treat with hydrocodone/ibuprofen/vodka.

    I’ve tried Seasonique (4 periods a year), but estrogen turns me into a raving witch. I then tried Mirena, and my periods disappeared, but I had it removed when I was trying to get pregnant. I decided that I do NOT want to get pregnant, so I am getting Implanon this week. It’s a progestin-only birth control, so no estrogen to deal with. Hopefully it gets rid of my periods. 🙁

  • This is fantastic.

  • I have had the endo/ibs combo for a long time – plus pelvic adhesions to complicate it. I know the feeling of dull yet manageable pain during the month and then a few days before my period its like a drill on the left side. Waking in a pool of blood is regular. I am 50 and wondering when this is supposed to stop! Still, it sounds like you have a rougher time with it and my heart goes out to you.

    I have another diagnosis too…dystonia. My kids are riddled with assorted things..one has pcos, another nf1, another had spinal fusion, the youngest has down syndrome and is a heart patient. I have honestly stopped talking about it all. I tough it all out and don’t even pray about it all like I should.

    Thanks for sharing. I have never seen someone describe mynsymptoms before! I started a blog to talk about it all but feel too shut down to write.

    Grace ad peace…

    • Thank you. I can understand what it’s like to just knuckle down and try to get through it, especially when prayer feels so ineffective. I go through times when just the act of praying helps, and times when it feels like I’m just throwing words at the ceiling.

  • patrice

    I’m fairly certain that people who God-talk at chronic pain are frightened at the prospect of an uncontrollable world, and that makes them rude. I told one that, once, and earned the label apostate. Woohooo

    I am diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and lyme disease. It is hard! No sense to it, as far as I can see. All my spiritual lessons could have been learned without the incessant aching and flares, the incapacity and fatigue.

    I wish something better for you. Not that it matters, but I do. 🙂

    • Yay for being an apostate! It’s one of my favorite labels. 🙂

  • Yes this so much. I haven’t felt your pain and have no idea what that’s life. But I’ve met with people around the world and wondered so much.

  • notleia

    I am sending sympathetic vibes in your direction, and here is an article that I find comforting because it expresses my frustration towards my own unruly uterus, except funnier than I could say it: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2009/07/thing-of-day-uterus-rating-not-awesome.html

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I’ve stopped doing even that, usually– because then many people will confidently assert that no, they won’t pray for strength. I don’t need strength– I need God’s healing touch on my life. “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” they’ll chirp with a promise that I’ll be on their minds every morning.

    Oh, they’ll toss out the typical “sometimes God says wait,” but when you’ve been waiting for ten years and it’s only gotten worse instead of better, you have a tendency to think that’s a load of bunk. Or, their eyes will narrow slightly, and they’ll inform me that if I only believed, I would be healed.

    Chirpy, happy, clappy, always so certain of what God is doing. “Not healed immediately? You must not BE-LEEEEEVE enough (unlike ME).”

    Glib advice about what YOU should do. ALWAYS from those who have NEVER been there themselves. Like Job’s Counselors, talk is cheap.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I’m fairly certain that people who God-talk at chronic pain are frightened at the prospect of an uncontrollable world, and that makes them rude. I told one that, once, and earned the label apostate. Woohooo — Patrice

    Or they’re waving the God-talk (or their FAITH FAITH FAITH, or what they do that you don’t, or what they don’t do that you do) as a Magickal shield to keep them from catching whatever you’ve got. Since my prostate indicators started getting suspicious (like a 50/50 chance of ending this year without a prostate), I’ve started getting similar magickal shields (like not eating meat) waved at me to ward off the prostate cancer cooties.

    Sometimes the urge to choke the stupid out of people just gets overwhelming.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I have experienced pain and a few times I have experienced intense pain, but I cannot imagine constant or regular pain as you describe…

    Over at RHE’s, I have heard endometriosis pain described as being as intense as kidney stone pain. I have never experienced a kidney stone, and after having to rush a friend to the hospital with a bad one, I never want to. Ever seen a guy with one of the highest pain thresholds you know of completely doubled over screaming and puking?

  • Loraine

    Gentle {{{{{hugs}}}}}

  • You seem to show the cause of your suffering as your reason to hate God. I do not know of this condition you face but what I can say is this; His justice doesn’t go beyond giving us what we deserve. God is not bound by any agreement, that His justice will limit itself to only the area where we are disobedient. For example, if a person has a habit of shoplifting, God will not necessarily punish him by having something stolen from him. Yet when this person receives His justice, he may question God, where I have ever done this to anyone that this should happen to me, yet he is sinner deserving of His justice.

    I am not a sadist but your pain and rebellion is your helpless estate in sin, which I pray Christ may consider and grant you His salvation that comes only by grace, not human merit. Miracles by themselves do not help people have faith, take the Israelites travelling with Moses for instance, many murmured and grumbled because those were not born of His Spirit. Faith is a spiritual sense that overrules all five senses. Thinking hard is not faith neither is asking desperately. If you are born of His Spirit, you shall quieten the sinful appetites of all five senses and that is faith because you are trusting then in God. We walk not by sight but by faith.

    About Abraham and Isaac, their story is not about human sacrifice as you have misconstrued, it is a reflections of the Son of Man: Jesus Christ, who submitted willingly to His Father’s will, in offering Himself as that unblemished atonement for His people. Had the sacrifice of Isaac taken place, you would have had a point but what you have is only hatred for the Living God for which He shall pay you His recompense unless you repent in your heart before Him.

    • I don’t even know where to begin with this.

      First of all, if you’d taken the time to explore my blog a little bit more, you would have clearly seen that I don’t hate God. I’m a Christian who regularly attends church and two different Bible studies (I even teach both of these, on occasion). I’m taking a two-year theology course, preparing an Old Testament survey for one Bible study, and I’m speaking to the teenagers at my church coming up pretty soon. Granted, all of those things don’t necessarily “prove” anything, but I consider myself to be a follower of Jesus and try to live like it.

      So for you to start out this comment with a declaration that I “hate God” is… a huge assumption that is also false.

      And then you go on to say that, basically, I’m a “sinner deserving of His justice.” That my “pain and rebellion is my helpless estate in sin.” That I’m going to “pay” for the “hatred” I have for “the Living God.”

      Also, I am more than familiar with the typology that many Christians use to justify this scene between God and Abraham. The problem is that we know the end result of this passage. We know that God sends the sacrificial lamb to take the place of Isaac, and that’s supposed to typify Jesus coming to take our place. But Abraham didn’t know that. Isaac didn’t know that. And that was my point. Because, like Abraham and Isaac, we don’t know the future. We can only do the best with what we have in this moment, right now.

      If you come back here, and try to comment again, I’m blocking you, because what you have shown here is nothing more than spewing violence and wrath and anger. If I wasn’t a Christian, if I didn’t already love God, comments like yours would only confirm that supposed “hatred” as completely justified.

      • Laura

        I just wanted to thank you for your post and say I’m sorry that you received such a reply. For all of us “quiet ones” reading – thank you.

    • Wow, Really? So… You totally misread her post AND blog… accuse her of hating G-d, which she doesn’t and say that her illness a result of sin.

      I think we have a winner here!

      A winner of what, I don’t know, but it’s certainly not the blue ribbon for reading comprehension on this post.

    • Forged, when I read Defeated’s comment, I was ready to set him straight, but then I read your response and you did a good job of it yourself. I am sure most of your readers agree that his comments are misguided; though I am sure he had good intentions.

    • For my readers: He apologized for his “slip up.” However, I am not approving comments from him.

  • Cheryl

    You remind me of the woman w an issue of blood. Minus the hem to touch.

    Paul’s thorn. God’s strength perfected in weakness.

    I think Abraham and Isaac makes more sense when considered in the light of Hebrews. Abraham was confidant God would raise Isaac from the dead. (By that time he had learned to believe that God would fulfill all promises, and Isaac was the child of promise but had not yet produced the offspring to fulfill said promise?) That still doesn’t give any indication of Isaac’s feelings about all of this…
    Can you imagine the father/son conversations they had about all of this??? It’s interesting that Isaac did not abandon his faith or grow hardened and embittered over the thought that his dad was willing to kill him. But I think the theme is far more faith in God’s promises rather than that parents and children should be ok with blind faith that turns one’s children into human sacrifice.

  • S.

    This is such a wonderful blog post. I have some very painful memories from the past. I have a great life now, but I still cry when I talk about the past with a professional counselor. It seems like there is no purpose to these memories…I wish I could remove them from my brain. I trust that God has a plan for my life and loves me very much. This doesn’t mean He will take away the pain.

    Thank you for the reminder that many of us are living with unexplained pain.

  • My chronic pain is of a different sort, I had severe scoliosis as a child and had to have surgery just to save my life, as it was in danger of collapsing my lungs. I’ve had arthritis since I was 23, and still have enough curvature to cause muscle pain & spasms that require 24/7 pain medication – hydrocodone doesn’t work for me, neither does percocet, I built up immunity to both of them. I’m left with a combination of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, & tylenol with codeine plus a bit of tramadol. All these combined just barely makes it manageable, most days, but like you I have days every month where I just curl up and feel like I’d be better off dead, and sometimes I cry just because it hurts.

    I used to be on a higher dosage of tramadol, but it started causing major seizures, and since then we haven’t been able to find a combination of meds that allows me to work. I live in one of the hardest states to get disability, and I’ve pretty much given up on it; I’m lucky that I have family that is able to support me, but it’s a weary, heartsick thing to be constantly reminded that ultimately, I’m pretty useless and entirely dependent on my family’s grace and generosity, and I’ve struggled with severe depression and anxiety for years.

    All of which is just to say, I understand, and thank you for sharing your story. I don’t often talk about my health either, and I’ve come to hate the ‘how are you?’ questions with a passion, because there is nothing to say other than ‘okay, hanging in there, same as always, etc.’ My brother is a huge believer in faith healing, and for ages insisted on praying for me every time he saw me if I was noticeably feeling the pain – with the expectation of full healing of course – but luckily he is one of the few people I have eventually been able to make understand that it’s not a question of me just not believing, or anything I’m at fault for, that sometimes God just says no. That full healing is never a guarantee here on this earth. It’s not anything we’ve done or are at fault for, necessarily – sometimes it just is, and we’re not going to know the reasons until we can ask him face to face.

    I’m a little more contrary than you, though, I guess, because sometimes I do tell people about it just to force them to recognise and confront those uncomfortable realities, because they are reality, and a part of everyday life for so many people, for me, and I want them to realise what they have in the privilege of being able to ignore it. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but it makes me angry sometimes, the blithe way they just blow off things that are really, truly, severely uncomfortable and hard and painful, every single day, for me and so many others. It’s nice for them that they are able to do that, pretend that everything can be fixed and have a nice shiny happy ending, but I don’t have that luxury. It’s not that I want people to feel sorry for me, I hate that, but I want them to realise how lucky they are, just how blessed. And how easily our positions could have been reversed.

    • I know how you feel about the “how are you?” question. Worst question EVER. And you’re right– I tend not to be too contrary/confrontational. My “don’t rock the boat!” tendency is pretty intense– but I’ve always appreciated it when men and women around me have been raw and honest about the struggles they face. We need to be reminded of that more often.

      • *hugs* I agree, I wish there was just more honesty between Christians in general….everyone has gotten so focused in keeping up appearances, and for what?? People to fall through the cracks. 🙁 I get very, very frustrated with the level of hypocrisy and facade and just….fakeness, of various sorts, going on in the church today. This is only one aspect of it all, but it’s a personal one and thus one I have some authority by experience to address, so sometimes I just feel the need to deliver a reality check. 🙂

  • Reblogged this on flamesword ~ watching in the shadows and commented:
    Reblogging this, copying my slightly edited reply from the comments here:

    My chronic pain is of a different sort, I had severe scoliosis as a child and had to have surgery just to save my life, as it was in danger of collapsing my lungs. I’ve had arthritis since I was 23, and still have enough curvature to cause muscle pain & spasms that require 24/7 pain medication – hydrocodone doesn’t work for me, neither does percocet, I built up immunity to both of them. I’m left with a combination of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, & tylenol with codeine plus a bit of tramadol. All these combined just barely makes it manageable, most days, but like you I have days every month where I just curl up and feel like I’d be better off dead, and sometimes I cry just because it hurts.

    I used to be on a higher dosage of tramadol, but it started causing major seizures, and since then we haven’t been able to find a combination of meds that allows me to work. I live in one of the hardest states to get disability, and I’ve pretty much given up on it; I’m lucky that I have family that is able to support me, but it’s a weary, heartsick thing to be constantly reminded that ultimately, I’m pretty useless and entirely dependent on my family’s grace and generosity, and I’ve struggled with severe depression and anxiety for years.

    All of which is just to say, I understand, and thank you for sharing your story. I don’t often talk about my health either, and I’ve come to hate the ‘how are you?’ questions with a passion, because there is nothing to say other than ‘okay, hanging in there, same as always, etc.’ My brother is a huge believer in faith healing, and for ages insisted on praying for me every time he saw me if I was noticeably feeling the pain – with the expectation of full healing of course – but luckily he is one of the few people I have eventually been able to make understand that it’s not a question of me just not believing, or anything I’m at fault for, that sometimes God just says no. That full healing is never a guarantee here on this earth. It’s not anything we’ve done or are at fault for, necessarily – sometimes it just is, and we’re not going to know the reasons until we can ask him face to face.

    I’m a little more contrary than you, though, I guess, because sometimes I do tell people about it just to force them to recognise and confront those uncomfortable realities, because they are reality, and a part of everyday life for so many people, for me, and I want them to realise what they have in the privilege of being able to ignore it. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but it makes me angry sometimes, the blithe way they just blow off things that are really, truly, severely uncomfortable and hard and painful, every single day, for me and so many others. It’s nice for them that they are able to do that, pretend that everything can be fixed and have a nice shiny happy ending, that God will save them from going through the hard things, but I don’t have that luxury. It’s not that I want anyone to feel sorry for me, I hate that, but I want them to realise how lucky they are, just how blessed. And how easily our positions could have been reversed.

  • lori

    My daughter is a midwife and does herbal medicine. I had endometriosis, fibroids, heavy periods and intense pain every month for years. I was a hysterectomy candidate. But my daughter recommended Chaste Tree Oil Its a tincture of a very hot pepper that has been used for milennia by the southwestern Native Americans (like from New Mexico and Arizona) for all kinds of female related issues. I put about 60 drops in a shot glass of water and just swigged it once a day every morning. I bought it in the health food store. It tastes horrendous! Anyway, it completely healed my endometriosis. Even the first month was a significant improvement and in 3 months I was healed. I now have normal periods of about 4 days, no PMS, no pain. I took it consistently for about 6 months and it has never returned and that was about 5 years ago now. I am 47. If you have never tried this, it is worth the 10 dollars or so try it out. It certainly won’t make things worse and might help.

    • Thank you for mentioning this. Sadly, I’m allergic to the supplement.

      • lori

        I’m sorry about that Maybe my comment will help another.

  • lori

    I have a different comment in regards to people’s response to pain. It seems that something like recovering from a surgery, for example, is the kind of pain that people in general can deal with. They can send “get well” cards and fix a meal for your family and maybe even come by for a visit or two and every day you are feeling stronger and more “back to normal” and they feel like they have had a hand in helping you get there. The recovering person feels better, they feel better, the world is a happy place, all is well.

    Chronic, ongoing pain of whatever type is harder to deal with for people. I think that it makes people uncomfortable to not be able to explain something or fix something by doing something tangible like giving money or giving just the right advice. I think uncertainty makes people afraid and then turns them into Job’s friends.

    As I read through Job, I get a sense of terror that has overtaken the friends. They MUST be able to explain and prevent what happened to Job or else it could happen to them!! I think that is the heart of the reason why people feel the need to blame the victim..fear that it could happen to them. If they can understand it, then they can thwart it.

    If divorce, adultery, rape, child abuse, bankruptcy, chronic health problems, and death can all be blamed on the victim or on sin itself…then all we “other people” have to do to prevent it from happening to us is to not make the mistakes they made!! All we have to do is submit more, not wear provocative clothing, not disobey our parents, not get credit cards, not whatever..or on the other side of it pray enough, have enough faith, attend enough church, love God enough or whatever and then God will bless us and not let any bad thing happen to us!!

    The Lord must weep at our foolish arrogance that we attempt to reduce The Most High God to such simple platitudes and cliches!

    I don’t pretend to know why we suffer as we do, all I know is that God is Sovereign and I am just me. My 2-pound brain will never comprehend the Almighty God and I will never understand why good things and bad things happen to us. Is it a part of some overarching cosmic plan or is it a bunch of random acts of a chaotic world? My answer to that is YES. How? I don’t know.

    But I do know that we all need more grace and graciousness from each other. We all need to put aside our uncertainty and our fear and our selfishness and just have compassion for each other. A simple hug, an understanding nod, a thumbs-up, or “I’m sorry for your pain.” and a listening ear that doesn’t feel uncomfortable with reality and truth even when it is uncertain and sad is sometimes is all we need to do for each other.

  • Pingback: The Ache that Defies Comprehension | thetalkingllama()

  • Crystal

    Samantha, you’re so lovely; you don’t deserve any of this.

  • Crystal

    Furthermore, I forgot to add that you might like to try a teaspoonful of ACV (apple cider vinegar) in a glass full of tap water. Its purpose is to thin out your blood and decrease the pain of your cycle. However, you should research this method before trying it to make sure that you are doing yourself right with your period. I got this from a book called “Grandma’s 1001 Uses for Baking Soda and Vinegar” at a website called “Health Pride.” You might like to investigate this, at least!

    • Unfortunately, I’m allergic to regular vinegar and ACV.

  • Crystal

    By the way, try the glass of water with the teaspoonful of ACV once a day and see how it goes.