Bio-shrapnel…..the role of pain in life

July 12, 2012

Anyone who lives and loves properly strays into areas where they get hurt. Pain and life go together like Laurel and Hardy, where Hardy is hurt by Laurel’s innocence and Laurel is hurt by Hardy’s lack of innocence. But then….after you watch sketch after sketch, you wonder …who is the innocent and who is the knowing ??? Is Laurel’s childlike innocence wisdom, and Hardy’s adult knowing ignorance ???

Pain is a very misunderstood force and stimulus. It means nothing out of context and  sometimes everything within context. The contemporary, prevalent, and I think foolish, attitude is : PAIN IS BAD. I am in no position to comment on the aspect of pain in childbirth, I am neither qualified nor gendered to answer but I can ask. I once asked a close friend, a nurse,  who bore a lovely baby girl after 11+ hours of painful labour ” Was the pain bad ? ” she replied ” No, it was painful but worth it.”

I have never thought of pain as bad……… unpleasant, discomforting, sometimes excruciating : YES, but bad ?? NO, unless it is purely for another’s pleasure, the vehicle for another to impose a sense of power, or gratuitous.

Life and pain go hand in hand, but should be in proper measure. Life without pain is diluted and usually rendered meaningless like the Eloi in H G Wells’ famous novel The Time Machine. The human being is emotionally, physically, spiritually designed to cope with pain, not excessive pain but proportionate pain.

Pain reminds us that we care about us and about others. It is a tool of life that is too easily misused and abused. Used in the right way it is life-enhancing and not just an affirmation that we are alive.

So if we live life properly and love properly, by necessity we accumulate Bio-Shrapnel, which is simply the remnants of situations where we have loved and lived. Some shrapnel works it’s way to the surface and leaves of it’s own accord while other deeper shrapnel lies deeply within us belieing it’s presence until we hear a certain song, see a particular image or smell a distinctive smell and we are transported back to a memory, reminding us that not only do we live, but that we have lived.

Bio-Shrapnel may make us wince, smile, frown or simply gaze into the distance, but it always makes us feel.

J. Coughlan ©2007


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