DR AIRDRE GRANT: Pain is our ally. It demands our attention and respect. It teaches us to not do something because it will hurt us/is hurting us.
DR AIRDRE GRANT: Pain is our ally. It demands our attention and respect. It teaches us to not do something because it will hurt us/is hurting us. twinsterphoto

Pain and patron saints

PAIN.

I am deep in relationship with pain after shoulder surgery. In this time, I am visited by the Algea.

These, according to Greek mythology, are the spirits of pain and suffering on mind and body. The Algea remind me about the complex relationship we have with pain.

We know its for our good, indeed I sought this operation, but it hurts. A lot.

Pain is our ally. It demands our attention and respect. It teaches us to not do something because it will hurt us/is hurting us.

Pain teaches us quickly to not put our finger in the flame or walk on rocky ground.

The lessons of emotional pain (for example, of loving the wrong person) are sometimes learned more slowly, but pain will be there to remind and guide us until we get it (or not).

Pain forces us to stop, listen and reflect. As French writer Marcel Proust said: "Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.”

The pain I feel tells me my shoulder is hurt and is healing. This message, although extremely uncomfortable, is a positive one. Something that was broken is now healing.

There are Gods and Goddesses, spirits and saints who can help in times of suffering. St Lidwina is the patron saint of chronic pain and then there is Raphael, The Archangel, for healing.

If you investigate, there are saints for many situations. St Drogo is the patron saint of coffee houses (as well as unattractive people - no connection) and St Balthasar is there for playing card manufacturers.

St Columbanus is patron saint of motor cyclists and St Januarius is the patron saint of Blood Banks. St Gummarus is for difficult marriages and St Giles (because he fed himself on the milk of a deer) is the patron saint of breastfeeding.

(You'd think it would be a woman. I'm not convinced by that deer milk story).

Good old St Rita is the saint for loneliness and impossible dreams. And let's not forget St Julian the Hospitaller, the patron saint of murderers.

I wonder if there is a new wave of saints, to keep up with the times, a saint for the Instagram influencers, for those who ride Segways, for example.

But I digress, anything to distract me from the pain in my shoulder.

I give thanks again to the medical specialists who brought me this place (St Rene Goupil is the patron saint of anaesthesia so big thank you prayer to you) and to St Agatha, the patron saint of nurses, as once again their tender and competent care saw me through.

And especially now to St Clare of Assisi, the patron saint of television as I make a pozzy on the couch and settle down to hours of engagement with mythical stories set in faraway places.

A modern-day enchantment which helps me forget the pain for a while.


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