Pain is our friend and our enemy.

Original photo by Donna Durbin

Pain protects us from damage, teaches us, steers us away from danger. A burn from a glowing ember, a cut from a knife,  a prick from a thorn. We experience it just once then attempt to avoid it for ever after.

Fear of pain traps us. Fear of pain keeps us in situations that are hurtful – prevents us from doing things we must do because it might hurt. A trip to the dentist, delayed  – the known, manageable pain of the decaying tooth accepted day after day in preference to the feared pain of the needle inserted into the gum and the grinding and probing that follows. Even though the dentist visit lasts only an hour or so whilst the decaying tooth aches day after day.

Sometimes, future pain should be welcomed. The extraordinary pain of childbirth marks the beginning of a new life. The pain of that first day without the drug-of-dependance (alchohol, cocaine, overeating, unhealthy relationship) can seem so terrifying that the subsequent days of decreasing pain, increasing freedom, improved health, greater happiness seem so unattainable that it is not even worth making the effort to try.

When the fear of pain forms a barrier like broken glass atop a high wall – keeping us from the future we deserve – then somehow we must find a way over the wall, past the glass, beyond the fear of pain to a more wholesome future that awaits us.