Fireworks are exploding over my neighborhood this July 4th as I write this.
Today was probably the hardest day of my fast so far. I went shopping for a new car with a friend. I didn’t buy today but I test drove five cars, and it was hot, very hot, reaching 103 degrees according to the car thermometer. The afternoon sun in July in central Texas and I don’t go well together, and I briefly questioned whether I should finish the fast. As a reward to my friend for putting up with my car shopping for 5 hours, I took her to Amy’s Ice Cream, the best ice cream place in the world, and bought her a cup of her favorite. We sat inside and she ate while I watched. Was I sure I didn’t want some of her ice cream, she asked. Yes, no, maybe. I declined, but it was tempting. Though I was tempted to quit the fast, I put the thought out of my mind and made it through the rest of the day.
Is the fast changing me? I did some house cleaning today that I normally wouldn’t do. I thought about doing some consulting work, something I haven’t thought about in a long time. And today I thought that it was time to completely recreate my life. So maybe the fast is having the desired effect.
There’s something called “The pain of healing” that happens when a wound begins to heal. The theory is that the pain from a wound is dampened by its severity. The more serious the wound, the less you feel it at first. I was once in an automobile accident in which two people died, and I suffered a concussion and severe cuts to the face and bruising to the legs. Yet in the minutes after the accident, I felt no pain from these injuries. It wasn’t until an hour later, particularly when needles were used to administer a local anesthetic for the stitches, that I started to feel any pain. And the real pain didn’t happen until late that night, when the effects of the concussion set in, and I wondered whether I would live through the night.
The pain of healing can happen even if the wound is not physical. I’ve experienced it myself at times when people have hurt me, or when I’ve hurt others, and the pain or guilt didn’t really set in until days or months later. It must have something to do with awareness, maybe by undoing the repression of the painful emotions.
The fast, by creating a vacuum in my life, makes it possible to feel some of the pain that I’ve been repressing, pain associated with the way I’ve lived my life recently, and even from events in my life many years ago. Maybe it isn’t the fast per se, but the fast is allowing me to process some things that I’d otherwise leave buried.
The pain of healing is good when it comes. It means that the healing has begun. If there is no pain, especially after something serious has happened, then it means that the healing hasn’t started yet.
And a knowledge of the existence of the pain of healing is a good thing, because it helps a person tolerate the pain when it does come. Because the pain is temporary, and necessary to the healing process.
I think I’m feeling some of the pain of healing of the wounds of my life.