And then it happened. I bend over to pick up a pair of shoes from the floor and out goes my lower back.

How did I get myself here? An everyday work day, beginning with my ‘to do list’. Feeling the joy of accomplishing anything I wanted to. One of those goals was small: to have an afternoon winter nap, warm under a layer of heated covers, with my cats nestled up against my backside. Add a meal for a full tummy, a binge on YouTube of brainless scrolling and my checklist would be complete.


And then it happened. I bend over to pick up a pair of shoes from the floor and out goes my lower back. Holding on to the bathroom sink, I use all my strength trying to keep myself from falling. I try lowering myself down to my knees. My back muscles scream in pain. I let go of the sink. Fall to the bathroom floor. I have been in this fetal position before. With great reluctance, I attempt moving into a yoga position known as child pose to relax my muscles. My body is in a freefall of pain.


On the floor, the spasms don’t allow movement of my legs or back. Yet, less than one foot from me is the young lady I came in to support. Did I mention that I am a caregiver? I find myself more helpless than her. My life is plummeting backwards over a cliff.


Immediately I attempt switch to my gratitude list for my own sanity.  What can I be thankful for? Aha! There is another coworker within the area. Calling for help, I remind myself to just keep taking deep breaths. It takes everything not to shout at the top of my lungs: “Lord, take me to heaven now!” However, yelling out in pain could traumatize my client, so I suppress the cries welling up within me. My life is in freefall.


Medical treatments begin my very slow recovery. I get my winter nap, but not the nap of my dreams. From my seated vantage point, I longingly see my bed. I don’t dare get into the bed; I would not be able to get out of it. I sleep three weeks in a lazy chair with my legs elevated on a heating pad. I cannot bend over to touch my knees let alone my toes, and I cannot bend side to side at my waist. My body is stuck. I’m not falling, but I’m also not moving.


Before all of this, I was doing so well with exercise class and keeping busy with church activities. Now, all progress has ceased. So many steps backward, from making headway in building a life that isn’t comprised only of my job.


Arthritis racks my lower spine and hips. I prepare myself for my first exercise class in a month. Maybe I can make 1/2 step forward? I am scared but this is my start. I will try, then I will rest. I will not push. I will not try to fix my body in one hour. I will continue to build the pieces back of the life I was slowly envisioning.  Maybe the results will be better than I imagined?


Will I have another freefall? Maybe, but I also have a promise. ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’. (Jeremiah 29:11) Even though I am afraid, I am deciding to trust.


I shared with her briefly about the pulmonary embolism.  Her eyes kind of glazed over and she changed the subject

Recently I was talking with someone I had not seen for quite a while.  In the course of the conversation, she asked me how I was doing.  I shared with her briefly about the pulmonary embolism.  Her eyes kind of glazed over and she changed the subject.


Why does pain frighten people?  Are they afraid of asking an awkward question? Are they fearful of not being able to come up with the right words? If the person is a believer, are they nervous regarding a God Who will permit a great deal of pain in another believer’s life?


I have come across at least three groups of people. There are those who back away quickly from pain being experienced by others. Then there are those who are like the disciple Peter. When Peter witnessed the transfiguration of Christ, he kind of flew into a panic and decided to build little houses for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  That was kind of weird, but Peter thought he had to fill in air time and be busy.  Then there are those who enter the pain of the other person and encourage.  These are the warriors.  They have chosen to obey Galatians 6: 2: Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 


Don’t forget the zinger written in verse 3:  If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Do I consider my schedule so important that I can’t talk to someone who is in pain?  Am I willing to go beyond my comfort level when I feel at a loss to help the other person feel whole? My God is big enough to handle my fears regarding situations filled with pain.


For a believer entering into such conversations in which the other believer is in pain, we have the “Golden Ticket” from Jesus as promised in John 14: 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful. 


If you truly are a believer in the words of Jesus Christ and consider them totally true, then you don’t have to be afraid of those awkward conversations.  It isn’t just you and the other person. It is you, the other person, and the Holy Spirit.  What a lovely set-up for what could be a life-changing encounter!