The book winked at me; the title something like Curing Your Back Pain Without Medication. I was desperate. I couldn’t stand up straight, couldn’t walk without pain, couldn’t get out of bed without pain, couldn’t sit without pain…for twenty years I’d been in pain…
Sitting in the library—the wooden chairs were without cushions; I’d be able to stand back up—I read…
Most back pain wasn’t caused by disks or bulges but by one or more strong negative emotions. The author listed five: Regret, Shame, Rage…
I stopped reading.
I’d gone to a back-specialist years before. He’d shown me my x-rays. Pointed out my problem. Then he’d said something very curious, “I’ve seen patients with x-rays far worse than yours who are pain free.”
Was it possible that my rage was causing my pain? Years before I would’ve “raged” at that idea. Me? I’m not the cause of this! This is physical! See, look at the x-rays! But so many doctors later, I wanted the cure to be within my own grasp. You see, if I was causing my pain, I could also stop it.
I followed the author’s recommended procedure. I journaled about my rage. I mentally imagined going down into my rage basement and cleaning it out. I opened the basement windows, let in the fresh air.
Why would it? I’d been wronged by another person. Horribly wronged. I tore up the journal. Returned the book to the library. It had only made me angrier.
I began to walk along a well populated trail not far from my home. As I walked, I raged at God. After all, he, being the ultimate authority, was responsible for the hurt I had suffered at the hands of another. I don’t know what the other people along the trail thought of me, shouting up at heaven—I do not rage silently—but I am now quite well known by those who walk there.
After three months of this raging, as I returned from the trail to my truck, I recalled an incident where I had hurt the person who was responsible for my rage—the person who had hurt me.
Tired from my walk, on that wonderfully crisp fall day with the dead leaves crunching under my feet, I realized how terrible my words had been, how much pain they must have caused. I also realized that I never wanted to hurt another person as badly as I’d been hurt. I returned home and wrote a letter apology. Of course, that letter was quite difficult to write. I tended to digress…
“I am sorry, but you did this to me!”
Many crumpled sheets of paper later, I finally had a letter which only said “I’m sorry.” It did not blame the other person, or call to mind any other incidents—of which there were many. It did not speak of my pain, only the pain I may have caused. I sealed the letter, mailed it, and forgot it. After all, I knew this awful person I was apologizing to. I knew not to expect anything.
A week later I received in the mail a handmade envelope. Inside was a letter, written in ink without a single mistake. It said many things, but mostly it said, “I’m sorry, too.”
As I read that letter my pain disappeared. Occasionally, I wrench my back. But then I rest and the pain goes away. The weeks and months of pain are gone. I’m free. I’ve been free now for ten years. The pain left with the rage. I’m writing this to you, because that winking library book helped to heal me. It set me on a path which gave me back my life. It was a non-fiction book, but fiction is the same. It heals, because the stories we tell enable others to learn, to navigate this difficult life. Write. I swear, inside you is the medicine for a thousand wounds.
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