Playing Hurt

I’ve been in sports one way or another most of my life.  In my younger days and through High School I played football, basketball, ran track, and worked out.  My college years were filled with basketball, tennis, and racquetball.  Since college I took up golf more seriously, and it has become at present my nemesis as well.  I love and hate the game of golf.  Just when you think one aspect of your game is coming together, two or three things begin to slip, then boom your scores and handicap explode again.  It’s almost a metaphor for real life.

There’s another think that stinks about this game.  Every now and then something in your body gets tweaked as you try to keep the right posture, maintain the correct grip, and swing smooth instead of lunging at the golf ball.  Right now I’m being challenged to even write this blog because I tweaked something in my right hand that is causing serious pain in the knuckle joint of the third finger, all the way from my palm to the tip.

Poor me, huh?

Do you know the phrase people like these days? “Oh, just rub some dirt on it, and get on with it.”  That’s basically what the orthopedist said on Tuesday (in my opinion).  It seems my x-ray was clear.  It seems my tendons and ligaments were all in the right places.  It seems like he was saying I was faking it.  Alas, my friends, I know I wasn’t because I am the one in pain.  Wouldn’t it be great if I could some how transfer my pain to his hand so he would know exactly what I was experiencing?

Here’s the thing.  I’m wearing the splint, and I’m taking the meds, and if it isn’t gone in three weeks I guess the next step is the MRI machine.  I’m hopeful it will clear up and return to normal in that time frame.  But it got me to thinking…

We don’t really know what someone else’s pain looks like or feels like.  In my case when the Dr. tried to manipulate my hand to determine what was going on, I winced in pain, because it really hurt.  He explained that he couldn’t really examine me sufficiently because I was “guarded.”  Well, yes, I was guarded, it hurt!

So, what happens to you when someone presses on something in your life that hurts?  How do you feel when things look bleak, dark or hopeless?  When someone dismisses your pain, and says “grow up already,” does that bring warm and fuzzy feelings all over?

Now, imagine how someone else might respond when you treat them in this same dismissive way.  How does anything in this world change if we don’t learn how to listen to each other, and try to respond with kindness instead of judgment, hate, or dismissive retorts?

We all have to play hurt sometime.  We stay in the game because we have to earn a paycheck.  We stay in the game because we don’t want the marriage to fail.  We stay in the game because we love our children and want the best for them, even when they walk away from us.  We play hurt, and we rub some dirt on it, and we go on.  Just typing these words hurts, but I’m still typing.

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom, as both admonishment and encouragement to face whatever today brings…

1 Thessalonians 5:13-18
… Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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