When Pain Becomes a Gift…

Dear Reader:

Pain and gift in the same sentence sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it…but is it…really?

Having endured my fair share of physical pain…through cancer procedures…including three radiation rounds of treatments, three separate surgeries- one including an eight hour skin graft removal from my back to cover my chest, three separate infused chemo sessions and today continued daily chemo/hormone pills with on and off side effects to continue adding time to life …along with…

Foot surgery to remove cancerous cells… that went really wrong…with infection, lots of pain, and five months of intense wound care treatments bi-weekly …has made me very sensitive to people living with continual chronic pain…my admiration for them is limitless.

So how then can pain be viewed as a gift?

I had never really thought about it until I heard a quote on television that said something about “Pain is a gift from the universe…created in the past but becoming the gift that keeps on giving in the present.” 

As I get older I see how God can take things in life that appear, at first glance, as something negative…something to shy away from if humanly possible, and turn it into a life lesson.

Whenever I was asked as a teacher to name those special teachers who were role models for me becoming one…I quickly recalled their names from my childhood and youth.

But now I know that it hasn’t just been mortal role models that I wanted to imitate as a teacher…but that God is the greatest teacher for all of us, regardless of our professions, to look to for guidance and mentoring.

So yes…pain…a part of life can be a great lesson. In the following article by (Leva Salina) that I read…six reasons were given for the value of life lessons stemming from pain

6 Reasons Why Pain From The Past Is A Gift For You Today
  • Pain makes you to stop and value your life. …
  • Pain makes you stronger and grow within. …
  • Pain is an opportunity to become a better person. …
  • You learn to understand others. …
  • Pain teaches you to forgive and ask forgiveness. …
  • Pain prepares you for something better in the future and teaches you to appreciate building block from the past.

As a history teacher, who taught the Presidents to my students…I remember a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt concerning her husband Franklin…comparing the man before and after contracting polio at the age of 39. “He was a good man before polio struck him down…but a great man afterwards.”

Eleanor wouldn’t let Franklin give into self-pity, pain, and depression during those dark days following the polio attack on his body…especially his legs. With her determination that he would go on to live a fulfilled life…he began to see a glimmer of hope that turned into a political career…ending with the presidency.

Throughout it all…he suffered terribly with the braces on his legs and constant physical therapy required daily to keeps his muscles from atrophying more….a painful lesson that made him a role model for others with polio or similar diseases that took their mobile ability away…but not their minds or spirits that kept their lives fulfilled and admired.

In several past posts…I have shared with you that I like Becky…the on-going living cancer “thriver” much better than the pre-breast cancer Becky.

Before “little c” arrived…I had experienced my shares of ups and downs but mainly I took life for granted… sometimes overreacting to trivial things…but nothing to equate to a situation where one’s life is on the line…with my doctors most optimistic prognosis being...”We’ll just have to wait and see how much time we can give you depending on your tolerance for the treatments and medications we will be trying.”

Instead of going into a depression however…I discovered that each sunrise was more beautiful than any I had seen before….my appreciation for the natural daily beauty of life around me increased exponentially.

I no longer took anything for granted, my patience increased, as well as, my perception of the wonderful family life I had been blessed with…along with the support of close friends. I finally realized just how lucky I really was…and for whatever reason God has continued to endow me with…

Anytime I went through a physical period of pain…and then it slowly disappeared…I was almost giddy with happiness…able to enjoy life again in its entirety.

But I also discovered that the worst pain in fighting a disease is the emotional and spiritual pain we feel when we loosen our grip on God’s Hand…the only times when I really got “down” was when I let go of my Creator’s Hand and didn’t overcome the valley of uncertainty until I reached out and grabbed it again.

Like the reference line in yesterday’s blog post from musician Leonard Cohen’s       famous lyric referring to the “cracks in our lives that lets the light in” moved Donna Rae to send this beautiful visual…and Anne…didn’t you do a small watercolor on these beautiful words too I recollect? They are all  remembered for being in one of Louise Penny’s detective novels…a favorite among many of us fans.

So until tomorrow…

Today I am happy….I pretty much stay happy…and like the title visual says “Today my happiest version has been well worth the struggle to get here.”  With aging comes more cracks…but now I know it just lets more light into my life! 🙂

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Eva Cate left for school so happy yesterday…I gave her a box of little sponge curlers because she wanted curly hair….she wore them all night and yesterday Mandy sent a happy photo of her and her curly hair heading to school! 🙂



The family all had to wait on Lachlan for a long time as he got bigger and bigger…but he was worth the wait and today he turns six like his cousin Jake. We are having a family birthday party for him Saturday but today is his “official” birthday!

Last year…when Lachlan turned five….


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to When Pain Becomes a Gift…

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    You have been an inspiration throughout yout journey with little “c”….and you have touched so many lives…

    Love Eva Cate’s hair…remember those kind of rollers well. Happy Birthday to Lachlan.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      My hair was so curly and frizzy as a teenager…I avoided little curler…I tried to wrap my hair around the big painful rollers where you didn’t get your head six inches close to the pillow…quite painful…I wanted straight hair…the grass is always greener. 🙂


  2. Lynn Gamache says:

    Another beautiful and meaningful blog, Becky. Along with your musings and meditations I so enjoy the photos of your grandchildren as they mature and grow. Eva Cate’s hair is so pretty with help from those curlers from Grandma and the creativity of her mother. the picture of her face lit with that sweet and gentle smile stole my heart. ..May she always glow with an inner beauty too.


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