"So for Pain I am Grateful"
A digital story by Anh Vuong
facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling
and Asian Pacific Communities in Action
A Theological Reflection
So For Pain I am Grateful
"Pain, like the worry our family felt when we found out that Papa had hepatitis. Pain, like the sting Papa felt from his weekly chemo shot. Pain, like the confusion, frustration I felt. How? Why? Why him? He didn't use drugs, didn't drink, or smoke. He was healthy, faithful to his family, and just a good-hearted man. Why him?"
In biology I learned about the disease where people couldn't feel pain. Didn't seem like such a horrible illness to me. But if it wasn't for the pain, and fear of losing my father, I would have not had the courage to push him to go back to the doctor, to learn more, to get treatment, to find out the truth."
He always used to say: 'I don't want to get too old. I just want to die at sixty.' But this time, the threat of losing him was real, the pain of it was real. I wasn't only fighting for my dad to take care of himself for him, I was young and I had major life moments ahead of me.
If he wasn't around, who would scare off my first boyfriend? Who would walk me down the aisle if that boyfriend came back? Who would babysit for me? So I ____ it, and even pulled a few "daddy, please do it for me".
He finally gave in. The Hepatitis B was confirmed; his liver scared; his stomach and feet swollen. The medication made him tired, bruised, and forgetful.
Every time I came home from college he seemed worse. Despite the toll, the medication worked a little, but we were hopeful. Then it came back. So he went on the list and we were told to wait.
My mom is not a waiter. She found Papa, a naturalpathic doctor. Our family changed, our diet, our lifestyle, our mindset. Last month, Papa went back to check his blood. The virus is still in his body, but we are strong enough to fight it.
So pain, it lets you know something is wrong, protects you, allows you to survive, even thrive. I would much rather feel the pain and fear of losing my father than numbness or nothing at all.
It wasn't for the courage the pain brought, we wouldn't still be fighting and my father would not be around to intimidate my boyfriend today. So for pain, I am grateful."
If you are interested in thinking about God and Pain, you might also try reading:
Where is God in Mental Illness?
Almighty? No Way!
Where is God in Alzheimer's Disease?
God and the Sendai Earthquake
Replanting Yourself in Beauty
Whitehead's Idea of God