PAIN seems like a pretty fucked up thing to be grateful for, doesn't it?
I'll explain. But let me tell you a story first.
Years ago, a boss of mine who was very thrifty, had cracked the handle on a shovel. Rather than throw away the whole tool and spend money on a new one, he bought a wood pole. His plan was to cut it down with a table saw and use it as a new handle, with the old shovel head.
But it didn't go so well. He wound up cutting off his pinky finger!
He rushed to the hospital where they were able to reattach his finger. It was a very costly surgery.
After his surgery, he had the finger but he lost all sensation in it. He would routinely bang his hand and especially that finger on all sorts of things at the office. His hand looked just terrible.
But often he would never know that he injured himself, because he couldn't feel it.
This story, besides being horrible, is filled with wisdom. The chief thing I learned from it is this: pain is a teacher.
Think about my boss. What did he learn:
- Doing thrifty things can have hidden costs
- To be more careful with his tools
But that's not all. After the whole terrible experience, he was deprived of pain, because of the severed nerves in his hand. Without meaning to, he took worse care of his hand and his finger because he couldn't feel when he was hurting them.
This is exactly why I'm grateful for pain, of all kinds. Pain can be a signal to me that I'm doing something harmful to my body, my life, or even to others.
I'm grateful for the help to reorient myself, to make new decisions, better choices. Suffering is a vital part of living.