My daughter is going through a painful wart. Yeah, this horrible cheap monster has invaded the beauty of her left big toe. Oh this poor girl, she seems to always have those kinds of growing pain in all through her days. This is painful, mama. That is painful, mama… Such never ending complaints always come from her little mouth.
When I inspected her toe and put a bandage on it tonight, I knew it would be very painful for her. Sighing and praying in my heart, I really hope this wart will be resolved very soon, it’s such a pain to see, not to mention to endure.
My girl is always having a fuss whenever she’s going to sleep, and with such pain, she got more irritated and out of her frustration and sleepiness she began to cry, “Mama, it’s too painful!”
I lifted her up and sat on the bed, and held her on my lap and let her sleep with her face on my chest. That’s always the most comfortable position for her whenever she goes through difficult times to sleep. Just some minutes afterwards, she fell asleep – in my arms.
Funny if I think it must have been painful for her to make her cry so hard, and yet when I held her tight, she immediately stopped crying and was able to sleep. What makes the difference?
I remember a day a year ago when I had my first panic attack after 10 years without one. I was in the state of grasping the reality of having to undergo the 4th surgery, my husband was away in Paris every workdays, and the 4th announcement hit so much harder than the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. I simply lost all my cool.
I was staying at my friend’s house after a PET-CT scan because I still had to get the rest of the radioactive radiation out of my system, and for 24 hours after the scan I must not be close to my kids.
On that unfateful night, when I was going to bed after a very long and tiring day (physically and emotionally), also after a full week taking care of the whole family including myself from a very bad form of influenza (I honestly suspect that we had covid-19 that time, it was so horrible!) – I suddenly felt scared and started to feel panic and hysterical. I was feeling very alone (despite my friend being there with me), and all I wanted was my husband to be with me! So he came, at 2 AM leaving our children alone at home, and later calling up a neighbour-friend to go to our house to be with them while he took me to the hospital – palpitating and suffocating.
I went through months of anxiety, and several months after the surgery over, I gradually got physically stronger and mentally more stable. But I never forget how much I needed my husband in all those dark moments.
What made the difference?
What makes the difference between holding our pain alone and getting through our pain with someone we love beside us? Physically, they are not able to take the pain away, but still, the pain is more bearable when we know we’re not alone.
Here I quote some findings stated in an article posted by medicalnewstoday.com:
The study confirmed previous findings and showed that couples do synchronize physiologically just by being in each other’s company.
This confirms Dr. Goldstein’s previous research, in which he showed that the more empathetic a man is toward a woman, the less pain the woman feels.
It appears that the more physiologically synched we are, the more our pain subsides. However, the researchers do not know whether lower-intensity pain increases interpersonal synchronicity, or whether it is the other way around.
“It could be that touch is a tool for communicating empathy, resulting in an analgesic, or pain-killing, effect,” Dr. Goldstein says. Interpersonal coupling may also enhance the analgesic effects of touch using the autonomic nervous system, the authors hypothesize.
There are still many studies out there done by brain and neuro researchers about this topic, how love and touch can relieve physical pain. But as I reflect how my tough could calm my daughter while she went through her pain… I remember those difficult nights of mine when I sang the hymns and held tight to God in my prayers…
The knowledge (and faith!) that God was with me all through pain and difficult times brought assurance and relief from my pain. I think it works almost the same as the study I quoted above, the synchronization between two people in love enables them to sympathize with each other and through their touch and connection, they share the pain and as a result the pain subsides.
How comforting it is that we have a Saviour, a God who cares for us, whose faithfulness never fades away, and it gives an assurance that we will never be left alone, that He would be always near us. And even greater than that, He’s not only the God who cares, but He’s also the God who empathizes with our sufferings, because He was here, He has walked through this narrow path, He understands our feelings, He shares our pain, He bears with us our sufferings. And He’s always there, holding us close to His heart.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.