We see it, we talk about it, we yell when it hurts, we call for help or whine for well-deserved sympathy.
Last week, it felt like an ice-pic penetrating my knee front to back* … I’m exaggerating, but not much.
Pain, constant or recurring, is debilitating in terms of its distraction-power, and because we go from a feeling of healthy invincibility to fear that it won’t be temporary.
Physical pain stops us cold. We deal with it.
What about other kinds of pain?
Emotional pain is invisible, you can’t bandage it or put it in a cast – easy to hide, hard to spot, and people in pain rarely reveal it until, sadly, it’s too late.
Every day we interact with co-workers, customers, friends/family, and strangers in every environment we encounter – people we see but barely hear. People we talk with, but hardly pay attention. What about their pain?
The non-physical pain and agony so many people go through has them not cry out, but cry inwardly, silently, and anonymously. The most pained person in the room might sport the biggest smile, the most hurting one in our world is likely not telling anyone. Sure, they will probably respond well to gently offered help, but they won’t ask.
Asking for help is very hard, so what can we do?
Nearly everyone is acting a little weird lately, over-reacting to little things like never before, combative like never before, outrageous or mouthy or ignorant, like never before.
Their ‘tell’ reveals something is brewing, their ‘tell’ tells what and how, but it’s superficial.
To dig deeper, you might need a shovel.
* When I was 14, the doctor said, “You play tennis and hockey – so if you don’t give up one of them, you’ll have surgery in your future.” Hobbled three days last week, a combination of rest/keeping that leg motionless, and ‘walking it off’ finally produced relief and a return to ‘usual’ activity. Every time this happens, I fear it’s finally scalpel time. My intermittent knee-pain injury inflicts as much anxiety, perhaps more, than the knee itself.