My aching foot!

Published 7:44 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

I am so grateful that I am not plagued by chronic pain.

But occasionally I have just enough pain for me to realize that I do not like it and to cause me to be extra thankful when I am free of it.

Not so long ago I had a pain episode with one of my feet that went on for about two weeks. I talked to a nurse friend about it, but she did not give me the pity I hoped for as she suggested that perhaps it had something to do with age! While she was probably more right than wrong, there are some things in life that I am less than thrilled to acknowledge as truth.

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Pain in the foot sounds like a really small thing to be concerned about—unless it is your own foot, then it becomes a much bigger deal that can take the pleasure out of even the simple task of walking across the room.

Like taxes and jury duty, there are a few things in life that never find an opportune time to be dealt with. Pain falls in that category, and my aching foot affected me at a most inopportune time.

I recently enrolled in a chaplains’ class at a rather large hospital. One of the key requirements for the successful completion of the course is spending several hundred hours in the hospital visiting patients. If you are familiar with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, you understand that going to every floor to visit people requires a lot of walking. As it turned out, my foot problem occurred just before my first day of hospital duty. I quickly went from hardly remembering that I have a left foot, to a constant reminder that I not only have one, but one that was begging loudly for relief.

For those who have dealt with pain, and most of us have, it is understood that it often does not just affect one part of the body, but can have far-reaching effects. Although my foot pain was in one of the most distant extremities of my body, it had an impact on all of me; it made me feel bad in general and greatly hindered me from doing simple tasks with ease.

I am grateful to be able to report that my foot is back to normal now and I can walk at my usual swift pace in the absence of pain. But this minor inconvenience in my life has reminded me again of the importance of being sensitive to the pain in others.

It is too easy for us to look at people that are experiencing hardships—physically, materially, emotionally and/or spiritually—and fail to realize how deeply their pain is impacting their life.

One of the great attributes of Christ is His compassion. Through His compassion He not only saw the pain of people, but He reached out to them with love and sensitivity and ministered to their hurts. He has called us to do likewise.

James 1:27 tells us that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (NIV).