A physical therapy office is a place where you are bound to meet people who are in pain. I have been in and out of several such offices over the last few years of my life, and I have met many hurting, aching people. Each person is unique in countless ways. Every single one of them handles their struggle differently.
Just this morning I was in a physical therapy office with several such people who were suffering in their own unique ways, surrounded by the physical therapists who were trying to help them. The case of one man stood out to all of us. I don’t know his full story. It’s apparent that at some point he suffered some sort of tragic injury (could it have been from an auto accident?). The comments he made today and has made on other days have revealed that historically he was in much worse shape than he is now – apparently he could hardly walk, at one point. It’s good to know that he has seen great improvement…yet he still lives with pain. Apparently his pain never stops, and is well above “annoying.” It would be hard for anyone of any age to be going through what this man endures, but somehow the tragedy seems a bit more bleak knowing that he is relatively young and has a whole lot of life ahead of him.
I was shocked when, in an almost joking manner, this man commented that, if he weren’t human, it would be considered the humane thing to do to simply “put him out of his misery” (by ending his life). I was even more surprised when no one else in the room made a comment to help try to balance his perspective.
Could it really be considered acceptable to end our own lives simply because no one has shown us the way out of our pain? As far as I could tell, that was the type of issue that was being brought forward. It’s a question that I have debated myself. Have you ever asked yourself such a question?
Your pain doesn’t have to be physical in order for you to want to end it by any means possible (including death). There are plenty of other types of pain that can be sheer torment. Loss is an excellent example. Losing a plan or dream upon which you had set your hopes is something that tears you up inside. Sometimes, try as you might, you can’t seem to move on.
What if you have lost someone you love? Or what if you love someone and they don’t love you back? You can question who you are, or if who you are is worth anything. Now we have hit upon another “something” that can definitely tear you up inside.
The point is obvious. There are so many reasons why we can empathize with the logic of this man from my physical therapy office. Yet I believe that there is a deeper logic at work here, and that, whether or not that man realizes it, his life is important. He is like a piece of a puzzle. Every human life is a puzzle piece. I firmly believe that until our time is truly “up” and death comes calling for us, we have purposes to fulfill down here, however convoluted those purposes may be. What’s more, sometimes the pain we go through actually makes us equipped to do wonderful things.
There are some fabulous people in history who actually suffered a great deal, even though that may not be common knowledge. They endured their trials and lived out their part in the story of this world. Here are a few examples:
Beethoven, perhaps the greatest composer who ever lived, eventually became deaf. He never actually heard what are often considered to be his greatest compositions. Yet, in the midst of his loss, he still poured himself into composing.
Bach (born 1685, died 1750), another man who wrote famous music (yes, I was trained as a musician, as my examples reflect), suffered the death of many of his children, being survived by only nine out of 20 of them. I can’t imagine such a loss. Yet, once again, he continued to write music (does his work reflect how he processed his losses, as well as the lessons that those losses taught him?)
Corrie ten Boom is a woman who was captured and held in a prison camp during World War II. She suffered personally and experienced the loss of beloved family members during her time as a prisoner. Yet, when she was freed and the war ended, she was able and willing to minister to others who had suffered imprisonment.
We may never rise to the level of such people. We don’t have to. We are only asked to go on living the lives that we have been given.
At the end of the day, I base my belief that my life has meaning on words like these, “In your book were written all the days that were planned for me.” I believe that there is Someone out there who planned out every life, and has a purpose for all of those plans. And I believe he offers hope and a good outcome to everyone who believes in him. (You can read more about this in the about section of this blog.)