Last week, I had an opportunity to learn a lesson from pain. I went in on Wednesday to have earwax removed from my ears. I have this done every so often, as it builds up fast enough that I eventually become unable to hear (no comments about "ears to hear" from the peanut gallery, please). I went in, and in the process of removing the wax, I was reminded about my weak eardrums in a most unpleasant way. I had a small rupture in my left eardrum.
Now it was only a small rupture, but that is neither here nor there when it come to eardrums (perhaps that should be "neither hear nor there", but I digress). I had a period of strong dizziness and pain, which mostly passed, and I went back to work. About an hour later, the pain returned. And this is not your standard scraped finger or bruise, or even slamming into a door. This was pain that was a 7 or 8 on my 10 point pain scale.
As I sat there at my desk, hardly able to even think, and wanting to curl up into the fetal position, I prayed. And my prayer was a most unusual one for me. "Heavenly Father, what would you have me learn from this pain?" As I said, most unusual. My normal prayer in this situation would be, "Heavenly Father, please remove this pain, and as quickly as possible!"
The Lord did answer my prayer. One of the most important things I learned from this experience was compassion. Compassion for those who suffer. Compassion for my children when they get leg cramps. Compassion for my wife in her struggles. And if I listen very closely to the Spirit, I can even find a little compassion for myself.
I find this compassion to be a very valuable gift, well worth a couple of hours of intense pain.