Worn — Finding Your Lament

How Are You

When you are dealing with chronic pain there is constant societal pressure to pretend it isn’t really all that bad.  Some of that pressure may be imagined or perhaps simply unconscious projected expectations of the society around us.  I know in church settings that you discover that everyone is “good,” “fine,” or, at least, “okay.”  It is jarring when someone honestly says something like, “Not very good,” or “I’ve been better.”  If someone responds that way too much, we begin to downplay their presumably painful situation in our minds.

When I began to experience chronic pain, I found answering the question “How are you?” much more difficult than it used to be.  I was still adjusting to this new reality and I was feeling discomfort that I had never felt before.  It seemed less than honest to simply say, “Fine.”  On the other hand, I had been conditioned by the culture I described above to be wary of becoming perceived as an attention-seeker or whiny individual.  I just kind of split the middle by saying something like, “I’m doing okay” but in a less than convincing tone.

I eventually learned to recognize the difference in those who wanted to really know how I was doing and those who were just using the question as a passing greeting (which we all do sometimes).  For those who really wanted to know, I gave a more forthcoming answer.  Over time, my standards for a fine day changed.  My “fine” days just meant that I had less pain at the moment than my “I’m not doing too well” days.

But sometimes we are simply broken.  Sometimes the pain seems more than we can bear.  Some days the endless maze of medical procedures and new diagnoses feel like a bottomless pit.  When these days or seasons come upon you, you can’t just keep pretending.  If you bottle in those emotions, they might explode or else fester in a way that brings you down a path you don’t want to go down.  During those days, you need to learn how to lament and find someone who will not only let you but lament with you.

lament_homeslider

I’ve had two different seasons in my struggle with chronic illness that have led me to this point.  The second of those times ultimately led me to start the “Broken and Mended” ministry.  The first time was an overwhelmingly confusing cascade of bad medical diagnoses that led to me being referred to the Mayo Clinic in 2013.  In a short two and a half years, I had injured my hips, had surgery (recovered slowly), been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, eosinophilic colitis and esophagitis, and was told my liver and heart might be at serious risk from eosinophilia.  Oh, and on top of all that, we were racking up tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt and I was struggling with guilt for “putting” my family in such a position.

Days before I would catch a plane to Rochester, MN, Katie (my wife) and I were driving around in the car when we heard the song from Tenth Avenue North called “Worn.”  We were overcome with emotion as the song expressed so deeply how we felt.  We had found our lament:

I’m tired
I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I’m worn
I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn
And my prayers are wearing thin
I’m worn even before the day begins
I’m worn I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn so heaven so come and flood my eyes
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Yes all that’s dead inside will be reborn
Though I’m worn
Yeah I’m worn
The video is even better.  “Let me know the struggle ends; That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.  I want to know a song can rise; From the ashes of a broken life.”  Broken and mendedthat’s my lament.  Find yours and find someone who will lament with you.  It may save your life and a lot more.

About David Heflin

I blog about topics related to the Christian faith and the struggle of chronic pain. I have ankylosing spondylitis and have dealt with chronic pain since 2011. I hope to provide support and community for those going along that same journey with me.
This entry was posted in Chronic Pain, Lament and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Worn — Finding Your Lament

  1. Lora Chandler says:

    Beautiful

  2. Dick Brown says:

    Good advice.

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