When Something Hurts

“Ouch, that hurts!” We’ve all been there, done that; some of us more than others.  But I think it’s surely universal that sometimes you hurt. 

There’s something about hurts, that highlight their opposite in the ordinary functioning of our lives.  Occasionally we become acutely aware of the value of all our body parts, when one of them hurts.  It reminds me of the 1988 Tim Keifer song, “don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

For example, most of us pay no attention to our digestive system until or unless it acts up, acts out, or acts wrong in some way.  Unless you’re a chronic dieter, you probably aren’t terribly preoccupied with the contributions you make to your digestive system.

Do you notice how awesome your bones are unless you break one?  There are from 206-213 bones in the adult body, not to mention all the supportive ligaments, joints and muscles that work together to assist our movements.  Can you give your miraculous skeleton a hearty hurrah for doing its job without much thanks from you?

What about your heart muscle and all its accessories?  I’ll bet you don’t think you’re a muscle builder until that vital muscle gives you some sort of warning, screaming, “I’m here!”   Or in the case of a broken heart, do we appreciate our feelings?  The whole array of emotions that enhance the color of our lives, escape our attention unless we’ve had hurt feelings.

And our skin, the biggest organ of our bodies, aside from slathering it with lotions, potions, and creams, do we really fuss with it in accordance with its importance unless it’s burned (hello, Jay Leno), scabbed, blistered, cut, wrinkled, bruised, or bleeding?

What about our eyes?  Most of us grow up thinking if our vision is impaired, we get glasses and all is good.  Then as we age, we become aware that there is something else, called eye disease.  We learn that we have a macula, an optic nerve, vitreous fluid, a retina, and so much more that can rebel in the form of hardening, cracking, glaucoma, cataracts, and all manner of fitting that we never considered, until now.

Beginning in the teenage years, when loud noise was a cool thing to enjoy, you didn’t once consider that one day, instead of a kitschy cell phone reception advertisement, someone would routinely ask you, “can you hear me now?”  Does anyone really want to wear hearing aids?

Who knew that hearing acuity affects brain function “Use it or lose it,” coined by American tennis player, Jimmy Connors, was never a truer statement than when applied to our precious brain.  I’m not sure we can appreciate our mind enough.  Our very loquacious brain tells us how to walk, talk, listen, digest, ruminate, emote; well, it tells us to “live and breathe and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Leg cramps that can be way more than a simple Charlie horse because you didn’t warm up before swimming, and effect you excruciatingly from feet to groin, make you value your legs.  Way beyond their shape and size, as revealed when wearing shorts, our legs give us the liberty of crutch-free mobility.  Appreciate them.

A splinter-free finger makes you appreciate your digits like nothing else.  Well, unless you have arthritis and rings are no longer your favorite jewelry.  A blister-free foot, ankle, toe, or heel makes you grateful for your feet; not to mention, freedom from bunions.

After a shot in the arm, you begin to see the merits of pain-free limbs.  After a C-section or other abdominal surgery, you realize no matter how paltry these muscles may have been, for example, a great distance from a six pack, they’re vital to movement from sitting to standing to the taken for granted, bowel movement.  Sorry, it may be indelicate to say, but it’s a fact.

Here’s a double negative for you, don’t be one who “don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”  If you’ve encountered near-death, I imagine that you have little trouble appreciating every single one of your body’s miraculous systems.  This includes, their ability to “heal thyself.”

What do you say we try to appreciate what we’ve got, in all its imperfect glory, here and now?  Don’t wait until it hurts to say thank you to your hard-working limbs, heart, liver, stomach, mind, reproductive and sex organs, feet, pancreas, emotions, nose and throat, joints, back, muscles, and so much more.

Maybe instead of crying, when it hurts, we should have a happy dance in celebration of all the other stuff that works according to plan. We could have an appreciation festival for all our physiological systems that work so hard for us every day.

Here’s a thought: “Optimism won’t change the situation.  But optimism will change how the situation feels.”  Maybe our hurts wouldn’t hurt so much if we injected a shot of optimism into our bum’s.

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