Sunday, January 3, 2010


Pain  makes me want to be invisible.

I've gotten pretty good at it too.

My invisibility takes many forms. It can be the cloak that I hide behind so that only certain people can see the real me. It can also be the cloak that not only hides but protects me from hurt and pain. I can envelope myself in my cloak and it feels comfortable. Sometimes I concentrate so much on invisibility that I forget how much help I can be to even just one person. 

The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's said that the sisters prayed a novena to St. Joseph (the patron saint of carpenters)  for a carpenter to come to them to build a staircase. On the final day of prayers a man arrived looking for work on a donkey with some tools. Months later the man disappeared without thanks and without payment for his work.

This isn't just a staircase. It's a staircase without any visible means of support.

Did I mention that the staircase was also built without nails? It also  has two 360 degree turns.

In this life where fame is worth more than character a man built a staircase, a beautiful work of art, with no thought to himself. He left without telling the sisters his name so that he could be remembered so that all future generations would bear witness to his labor of love. He built his magnum opus not for what the world could see, but what God could see. He's invisible but what he left behind isn't invisible.

Maybe that's where we need to focus. What the world can see is temporal but what is inside, however scarred, is God's work of art. Pain makes us think inward when we should be thinking outward.

I've always said things could be a lot worse. Chronic pain is just that. It hurts to move, it hurts to think, it hurts to get out of bed, it hurts to sit down, it hurts to stand up, it hurts to type, it hurts to hold hands, it hurts to get hugged, it hurts to walk, it hurts to run, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. However much it hurts it doesn't hurt nearly as bad as the person who is learning to take his first step again after a stroke or an accident. It doesn't hurt nearly as bad as a parent  who has lost a child and must take the painful steps to a grave site. It doesn't hurt nearly as bad as people that are so riddled with cancer that pain medication no longer helps and they pray for God to take them home.

So when I move toward my special form of invisibility, I will try to remember that it isn't as bad as it could be. When I start toward the reinvention of myself I will remember that it isn't what the world can see but what God is perfecting within me. We may not be able to see what He's done in this lifetime but we all have a legacy that will remain long after we're gone.


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