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April 7, 2008
Such a dream last night! Delays, mistakes, inappropriate clothing, missed appointments, all related to the pain in my leg, the only part of it real in the waking world. I awoke from it exhausted and craving a nice hot bath.

Not that it's such a privilege, but it is amazing that the pictorial and emotive world of dreams can express actual physical pain so eloquently. For years following being hit by a car, my back expressed in my dreams its shock and sorrow at what had happened and continued to happen: dreams of someone who was ordinarily devoted to my well-being inflicting pain on me without knowing it -- a beloved boss, my own husband, a friend. Please, please, stop! You're hurting me! I would beg in the dream, but the message never seemed to be understood, and the pain continued. Finally I would awaken in tears, a sleepy and startled Q beside me. I suppose the dream was aiming to awaken me so I could so something to minister to the pain. But it also expressed the irrational feeling of betrayal pain brings with it. The perpetrators of my pain in these dreams were all people who loved me, from whom I routinely expected kindness and got it. My dreams expressed the failure of a bargain.

Of course, we don't have a bargain about escaping pain in our lives. People may or may not love you, and God certainly loves you, but none of that has anything to do with whether your back hurts -- we made up that part. One's own well-being is a poor barometer of God's loving presence. It is precisely when life hurts that we need God most, not as there perpetrator of our suffering but as the companion of it.

What happened to your hands?

It was an injury.

That must have hurt.

It did.

And your side?

Same injury.

My back hurts. And my leg. I'm so sick of this.

I know. I'll stay here with you until it eases up.

What if it doesn't?

I'll stay anyway.

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