New President Promises Hope for Chronic Pain Sufferers
As of noon today, there will have been 12 different presidents during my lifetime. I've watched a lot of inaugurations, but never have I seen anything that has come close to the excitement and sense of hope that currently permeates our country.
Having grown up during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, I can greatly appreciate the historic significance of President Obama's inauguration. I can only imagine the depth of joy the African-American community is experiencing today – particularly those old enough to have endured the horrible days of extreme discrimination, with separate bathrooms and separate drinking fountains. Obama's inauguration gives us all hope that what we've always heard – “Anything is possible in America.” – is really true.
It's obvious that the majority of Americans are full of hope that the new administration will bring change. Whether the hoped for change is improving the economy, ending the war, or providing health care for all, it's hard to deny that hope is in the air.
You may be wondering about now what all this has to do with chronic pain. This hopeful national atmosphere has gotten me thinking about how important hope is to anyone suffering with chronic pain – or any kind of chronic illness for that matter. I'm not just talking about the hope of finding a cure or the hope that a more effective treatment option will be discovered. I'm thinking about a more all-encompassing sense of hope that gets us through each day. It comes with knowing you have value as a person and there is a positive purpose for your life.
Sometimes we can get so focused on the pain we're feeling and our desperate search to find relief that we forget to look around and see the things, and particularly the people, in our life that make everything worthwhile. It's so easy to feel useless because we can no longer participate in the activities we once did, have the career we dreamed of, or even take care of our family as we would like to, that we forget that our life has value far beyond what we can do physically.
It's important to grieve for our losses. It's ok to go through a period of anger over how our life has changed. But eventually, we all need to come to the point of acceptance. Not that we quit trying to find a more effective treatment plan or quit trying to be as active as we are able, but acceptance that our life has changed. Until we can accept where we are now, we cannot move forward. And one of the wonderful things about acceptance is that it brings with it hope – and even joy.
As our new President is sworn in today and our nation is filled with hope for the future, my wish for each of you is that you will experience a renewed sense of hope and purpose in your own life.