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Visions Of Hope: Pain

William Sykes presents quotions designed to give hope to people in pain.

Pain—suffering, distress, of body or mind


Whilst chaplain to University College, London, I lived in a student house in Gower Street for three years. One of the occupants was a post graduate student from Egypt. Whilst she was with us she went through a very painful mental illness.

Apparently as a young girl she had been sexually abused by her uncle, and the psychological damage of this experience now began to emerge. She was treated by a psychiatrist. From time to time she was admitted to a hospital in Queen's Square, and I would go to visit her. Progress was extremely slow. At the end of the year she was no better and had to move on to other accommodation. I kept in touch with her but she was still suffering acutely from mental pain, and nothing seemed to alleviate it. Eventually she had had enough and threw herself out of a third storey window in an attempt to end it all. She was terribly disappointed to find she was still alive after impact and even more so when she felt the physical pain of her injuries. She had broken her pelvis and several other major bones in her body and was confined in an orthopaedic ward of a hospital in South London. I went to visit her. There was a freak storm and I found the way to the hospital barred with flood waters. Unperturbed I took off my shoes and socks, and rolled up my trousers as far as they would go and waded through the flooded area to complete the visit. Eventually she was discharged, but succeeded in the next attempt. The psychological pain had just been too much for her to bear. The quotes are designed to give hope to people in pain.

Turn thou to me, and be gracious to me; for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the trouble of my heart, and bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble.
Psalm 25:16-18

My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to thy word!
Psalm 119:25

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:22-23

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
Hebrews 5:8

It is not true that all pain is evil.
J. Neville Ward, The Use of Praying, Epworth Press, 1967, page 75

The world has kissed my soul with its pain, asking for its return in songs.
Rabindranath Tagore, 'Stray Birds' CLXVII, in Collected Poems & Plays of Rabindranath Tagore, Macmillan & Co,
1936, page 308

A painless life, in time, would be a curse not a blessing, it would be a life outside the movement of all that matters.
J. Neville Ward, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, Epworth Press, 1971, page 34

Behind joy and laughter there may be a temperament, coarse, hard and callous. But behind sorrow there is always sorrow. Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask.
Oscar Wilde, The Works of Oscar Wilde, William Collins Sons & Co, 1948, page 864

Once you have experienced the pain of your own infirmity (and to feel the pain is the first step on the way to a cure) you soon learn compassion and a corresponding tenderness toward other people.
Thomas Merton, The Waters of Silence, Hollis & Carter, 1950, page 20

The survivors [from concentration camps] showed me another possibility: that one could live with pain precisely by not fighting it; by not denying its existence, by taking it into oneself, seeing it for what it was, using it, going beyond it.
Mary Craig, Blessings, Hodder and Stoughton, 1979, page 49

Sometimes, our pain is very deep and real, and we stand before her very silent, because there is no language for our pain, only a moan. Night's heart is full of pity for us: she cannot ease our aching; she takes our hand in hers, and the little world grows very small and very far beneath us, and, borne on her dark wings, we pass for a moment into a mightier Presence than her own, and in the wondrous light of that great Presence, all human life lies like a book before us, and we know that Pain and Sorrow are but the angels of God.
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat, J.M. Dent & Sons, 1964, page 102

The saints believe that no sorrow met in God is sterile of good. Suffering buys something, they believe, worthy of the price which pain has paid. Woe need never be wasted. Their thought of God will not allow the saints to trifle with the idea that His tender heart is indifferent to their long-suffering. Good will come of it. Love will find a way... In the dark, these brave souls hold still to the skirts of God. He will vindicate them some day. If not on earth, in heaven. With this longsuffering, they confidently believe that He will purchase something worthy of the price which pain has paid.
W.E. Sangster, The Pure in Heart, The Epworth Press, 1954, page 130

Following the tragic death of a friend of mine, I needed to talk to someone about it. I discovered once again how compelling our need to talk about such things and not just painful events but happy ones as well. It just bursts inside and can't be contained in the narrow, deep solitude of our being.
I looked for someone who had known my friend well, or even a little, to tell them the terrible news; but, in reality, I was just looking for someone with whom to share the pain. This is our profound need—to call out to another and share the burden. Shared suffering always brings a little relief. Again I told myself: Help others to talk. Listen to them quietly, don't worry about saying the right things or saying anything at all. Just be welcoming, people need your support in carrying their pain.
Michel Quoist, With Open Heart, translated by Colette Copeland, Gill and Macmillan, 1983, page 127

The cry of man's anguish went up unto God— 'Lord, take away pain—
The shadow that darkens the world Thou hast made, The close-coiling chain
That strangles the heart—the burden that weighs
On the wing that would soar—
Lord, take away pain from the world
Thou hast made,
That it loves Thee the more.'
Then answered the Lord to the cry of the world:
'Shall I take away pain,
And with it the power of the soul to endure,
Made strong by the strain?
Shall I take away pity, that knits heart to heart,
And sacrifice high?
Will ye lose all your heroes that lift from the fire White brows to the sky?
Shall I take away love, that redeems with a price And smiles at its loss?
Can ye spare from the lives, that would climb unto Mine The Christ on His Cross?
CL. Drawbridge, Common Objections to Christianity, Robert Scott, 1914, page 77

It is a hard matter to reconcile the fact of pain with belief in a God of love. The atheist has met the difficulty by dismissing God; the Christian Scientist has met the difficulty by dismissing pain. But there are people who are quite sure of both, who know God and who know pain—such are certain saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church. Can they give us a clue to a reconciling thought? We think they can...
We do believe that we can say surely with the saints and martyrs of the Church of Christ that the reconciling thought that explains how there can be pain in a world created by a God of love is the thought of holiness.
It is not possible that an all-holy God should create a world in which sin would result in anything else but catastrophe; it is also impossible to think that an all-loving God should be content that the sorrow and suffering that sin causes should be nothing more than catastrophe. And so the love of God has captured pain that He may make pain the servant of holiness. That has been the discovery of holy people.
Father Andrew, SDC, The Melody of Life, A.R. Mowbray & Co, 1929, page 48

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain. And he said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must
you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief. Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity: For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen, And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, William Heinemann, 1970, page 61


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