For the first time in many years I required 2 hours worth of "work" (euphemism for TORTURE). So, the dentist kindly attempted to numb the appropriate areas. He talked to me for a few minutes, asked how it was feeling, was it numb yet? tingling? feeling "fat?" Um...no. It wasn't feeling any of those things. It was just feeling...normal. Hm...he raised his eyebrows. Ok, he says, I'll give you one more shot. That should totally do it (we are on a tight schedule here because I've got a preschooler coming home in 1.5 hours). That didn't do it. So he tried again. and again. Finally after 4 times the regular amount he admitted that he was out of anestetic. We waited for it to take affect. He asked me if I were normally resistant to pain medication or sedation.
I thought back a couple of weeks. I had been experiencing some weird / disturbing symptoms. The doctor ordered an MRI to rule out anything crazy. When I arrived for the test, the technician offered me valium, in case of claustrophobia. I am mildly claustrophobic so I figured it couldn't hurt. He asked if I'd eaten anything, I admitted I'd had a piece of cheese, not knowing otherwise. He said no problem, but that I should "chew up" the valium instead of just swallowing. I chewed it up. He asked if I were resistant to sleep aids. I said "yes!" (getting me to sleep is nearly impossible). So, he gave me two valium and had me chew them up!
Then he said to take hold of his arm (we had to walk into another room) as I might feel the affect soon. But I felt...normal. We got to the right place. I sat and talked with him for awhile. He asked if I were getting sleepy? I said, "no." Finally we just had to do it. He let me put a cloth over my eyes and that helped a lot. He slid me in. It was very noisy! But he talked with me and I felt fine. Afterwards I stood up and walked out unassisted. He just shook his head. He told me, most people are drowsy after just one valium. With two, he said, you should have been asleep on the table.
So back to the dentist. It finally got numb and he finally did the work, though I'll have to go back because we ran out of time.
This got me thinking. For me, being a mother has been a lot like these medical situations. I am more aware, more sensitive to pain than before I had children. Everything affects me. Everything they feel affects me. It's like that quote that says "motherhood is like wearing your heart on the outside of your clothes for the rest of your life" or something like that.
Because I am less resistant to pain medication than the average person anyway, being a mother has only increased my resistance. And it has lessened my ability to sleep. This hyper-vigilence, or constant alertness is exhausting and not healthy for anyone.
I love my children so much, it hurts. Literally.
My new goal in life for parenting is this: Stop the pain. Somehow, someway, I need to just stop the pain. Stop the pain of perfectionism. Stop the pain of no sleep. Stop the pain of self-doubt. Stop the pain of over scheduling, the pain of regret.
No, I don't want to become numb. I don't want to become "past-feeling." I just want to find that healthy balance called JOY. The one that includes pain and suffering, but also includes play and fun. It has some routine, but also flexibility. It has healthy basics, and some dessert too.
The other day I spent more time in the scriptures than I had in a long while. I felt so much...peace. I felt wrapped up in the Savior's arms. By all accounts, I "wasted" a lot of time, because it was more than an hour, just ... reading. But it felt so good. And it soothed my pains, my little sufferings, without numbing me. In fact, I felt crystal clear for the first time in months about some answers to major questions! And yet, with all that clarity, I still felt peace and happiness! Perhaps the scriptures are the perfect remedy for me. It was a good day.
Have you ever seen the show "Touch?" It's about an autistic boy who sees connections in the world and orchestrates extraordinary encounters with magical outcomes for everyone involved. You might think it's a bit forced, unbelievable.
But I love it. It illustrates how I feel daily. I see connections, I see and feel others' pain everyday. Especially my children's. I see what I could do to change or help their pain and I make myself crazy too often, trying to fix it for them.
In one episode of "Touch," another autistic man helps the dad understand his son. The dad asks the man, "What does he want? Why does he run around and do all these things?" The man replies, "He wants to stop the pain." The dad doesn't really get it. Not sure he ever gets it. But I get it. The boy wants to stop everyone's pain. Because he sees. Because he knows HOW to stop their pain. Problem is, he's just a little autistic boy and he can't stop the pain without help. So he has his dad and a bunch of other people who help him in every episode. The bottom line is, he wants also to stop his OWN pain. His overwhelming, constant pain. The pain of knowing, seeing and of never resting but always trying to stop the pain.
It's ironic. I want to stop all the pain my children feel and all the pain I see in the world. But truthfully, when I do so, or attempt to do so, I only make myself more crazy, more resistant to help, more resistant to sleep, more overwhelmed and undernourished, body and soul. So it ends up causing more suffering... for everyone. Even my most faithful "helpers."
I am very grateful to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I am so grateful for the "healing balm," and the peace and comfort I always feel when I take time to let the Savior into my life. I'm so grateful that I can lay my burden at His feet. That at the end of the day, I can turn the management of the universe back over to His capable care. He never fails to stop the pain.
This Easter, as we remember Him who suffered all pain for us, let us also remember that He rose again on the third day to forever "stop the pain" for every one of us. For me, for you.
I love Him and I testify that He lives. I wish you joy this season.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.