My fingers hurt. Nothing new there. But something strange has happened. I had intended to write a different article this week about how this website sometimes feels like my journal, but I found that it would work better if I combined it with another more-pressing topic that’s recently come up.
A New Development
I have been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for several years. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I seemed to be turning a corner because I was mostly free of pain in my two swollen fingers on my left hand. Well, I suppose it was my hubris that made me feel comfortable announcing that to the world. Because now I get to eat crow and admit I was wrong. I was turning a corner, but it wasn’t leading where I thought it was at first. Another finger has begun to swell up. My ring finger on my right hand. And the pain has returned in my other fingers. So now I have fingers on both hands that are in intense pain.
It started last Wednesday. I thought I had just overused that ring finger while giving service at a meat-packing facility for three hours. But the pain continued for days after. Finally, on Friday, I realized that it hurt to bend the knuckle on that finger, just like the two on my left hand. I had gotten used to those ones’ pain, but this was new and fresh. Exquisite, even.
I can’t tie my own shoelaces well anymore. Because it hurts so much. My wife tied my shoelaces for me on Saturday, and I smiled at her gratefully for sparing me that pain. I don’t know if you’ve ever had someone do something simple for you that you used to be able to do for yourself. It’s one of the most humbling things I’ve ever experienced. I’m back to taking the fish oil and cherry concentrate supplements to try to keep the swelling down.
I don’t think I’m being punished, nor do I seek to wallow in self-pity. It just hurts. I needed a moment to mourn the loss of everything I had taken for granted for so long. Opportunities to be humble present themselves to me quite often, and I am grateful for them. This one is particularly potent because I usually keep my mistakes private. But this one’s pretty public. At least in terms of sharing it with everyone who frequents this website.
I wanted to share an inspirational story of faith overcoming hardship. Instead, I get to share a humbling lesson of patience and striving to persevere faithfully through hardship.
Wishing for a Miracle
After my realization of what was happening to my finger, I sat at my kitchen table and pondered all the implications of it. I had just read with my family the account in Matthew 4 of Jesus healing all sorts of diseases and ailments in people who had the faith to be healed. And I wondered if I had the faith to be healed. If I had been alive back then, would I have been one of those who came to the Savior seeking a miracle, and walked away with my heart’s desire? Or would I have scoffed at the idea of miracles, and not sought one?
I believe in miracles. This day is a day of miracles as much as it was at the time Jesus lived. But I don’t demand that God heal me. I will ask for that miracle, and if He chooses not to give it to me, then I will humbly accept that answer. Whatever He wants me to learn from this pain, I will strive to learn it. I don’t blame anyone or anything for my condition.
As I mentioned, I was sitting at my kitchen table, and all these thoughts were swirling through my head. I started to feel bad for feeling bad. It was an odd sensation where I was suffering in body and spirit, and I received no relief because it felt like a lack of faith to even acknowledge my feelings. They were part fear, part worry, and part mortification.
It’s Okay to Feel Bad
I believe I’ll see my loved ones again in the afterlife. But it still leaves a gaping hole when they die. I believe all suffering is temporary, and I’ll be resurrected to a perfect body one day. But it still hurts when I lose basic functions that make life harder here and now.
I think it’s okay to feel bad for a little while. The apostles were probably very somber during the three days after Jesus died. But their sorrow was swallowed up by joy when, after the resurrection, He visited them and comforted them.
I’m grateful to my family for offering me helpful advice on how to proceed from this point on. I intend to keep pressing forward, even if I have to struggle through more pain along the way. I trust that my sorrow will be swallowed up by the blessings that await if I stay true to the end.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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Want to Support the Deja Reviewer?
If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.