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Pandemic Pain Exacerbates Personal Pain

I am currently rereading Agatha Christie's books starring Hercule Poirot, the amazing and somewhat annoying all-knowing detective. I am always delighted when I can figure out any little thing, but as I was reading along the other night in Dead Man's Folly, this paragraph jumped out at me. Poirot and another character are discussing how much personal stuff can come up when one is worried about large things that are a matter of life and death. Poirot says, "In the late war, during a severe air raid, I was much less preoccupied by the thought of death than of the pain from a corn on my little toe. It surprised me at the time that it should be so. 'Think,' I said to myself, 'at any moment now, death may come.' But I was still conscious of my corn - indeed, I felt injured that I should have that to suffer as well as the fear of death. It was BECAUSE I might die that every small personal matter in my life acquired increased importance."


Maybe for you this is no new idea, but for me, a few things slid into place in my mind. I have been curious about how some people have been able to find their mission and cope pretty well through this time. Most of us, though, find ourselves in the position of having less love, less patience, less energy, less kindness available right now. Our personal challenges, our 'corns', are taking center stage, even if they seem much less than the life and death challenges some are facing with coronavirus. Yet here, Christie's words put things into perspective for me.


We are having trouble with so much BECAUSE we know that issues before us now do involve life and death. More than 465,000 of us have died in this country of the coronavirus. And we don't like to talk about death. So all of the other little personal things going on in our lives flare up to become what seem like major annoyances and problems. Often, they are cover for what we're really concerned about, but don't want to talk about.


Death. It's what we most fear and can never control. We certainly try...we crawl toward it with determination and persistence like a mirage in the desert, only to find it slip through our fingers. In exasperation, we have to figure out what to do next. Control will never be ours, especially around death.


It makes me wonder - are those who are dealing better with this pandemic ones who have made their peace with death? I don't know factually, but I'm really curious and have a guess. If we settle our minds around death, are we more able to live fulfilled lives? Are we more ready to find our purpose and mission daily when we stop ignoring reality? It's a set of questions worth exploring deep inside ourselves.


This pandemic has heightened so many problems already in existence for us - addiction, mental health, domestic violence, and so much more. Sometimes we turn to God, but sometimes we rely on our own power, which quickly runs out. Then our frustrations and problems multiply, and we're saddled with lots of pain from corns on our toes, we might say. Have you faced the reality of your own death, and talked with God about it? Have you considered what you hope your life will be until such time as you die? I encourage you to have that conversation. Don't think of it as morose. It is the necessary conversation about the end of life that I believe will set you free to live your life!

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Kimberly Secrist Ashby

Consultant

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