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"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I wanted to sing with the choir this past Sunday.

It was the second week of Advent and time for the kid's pageant.  The choir was singing songs I love.  I was supposed to also sing with the other little chorus group we have.

The entrance of the choirs was going to be fun.  Someone would sing "Prepare Ye The Way Of The Lord." the shofar would sound, and the choirs process down the aisle, also singing "Prepare ye the way of the lord".

Boy, did I want to do it.

I also knew there would be pictures taken.  The church photographer would not be alone, parents of the kids came with camers, and flash, in tow.

A previous Sunday there had been a baptism.  I was in the choir loft.  Suddenly the little light that indicated someone's camera was getting ready to send out a big flash flashed out its beam.

It was like watching a car coming towards you, head on, knowing there was nothing you could do about it but wait, and suffer the consequences.

The light hurts my left eye, a lot.  I often wear sunglasses inside, including on Sundays when with the choir.

The lights in the sanctuary are bright.  There is also a candle sitting atop the altar that flickers .  Using my eyes to look up to the choir director, then down to the music, down to the hymnal and up to the minister, etc is a problem - seriously pain provoking.

So what to do?  Take the risk of the cameras causing me horrendous pain or give in to my want, and need, to sing with the choir?

The minister says there is no such thing as coincidence.  I do not subscribe to that but in this instance timing was all.

Just as we stood up and started to get into place for our procession the first flash went off.  I turned to the person next to me. "I can't" was all I said, fleeing the sanctuary.  Had we started processing it would have been very difficult to turn and leave without throwing off the entire choreography.

It is these kinds of things, little in the scheme of things, just an hour or so, but choir is all I have.  The ferocity of the want to sing, to be a part of, was intense.  The fear of the flashes from the cameras had its own severe intensity.  At the end of the day, as it were, pain always trumps whatever want or need I might have, unless the need is to get away from whatever it is that is setting off the pain.

It is a hard road to travel.  At what point do we, as those who live in chronic pain, make the decision of which is worse: the loss of what we wanted to do, have, be or the potential for the pain if we do (whatever)?