Living Moments (Part 43) – Breaking The Jar Of Pain

by Patrick Liew on July 30, 2012

When my children were younger, my family and I were avid jungle trekkers. Almost every school holiday would find us on various obscure trails or bashing through a jungle.

On one of those trips, we were staying in a small guesthouse in Thailand, a few days before we were to set off on another trekking trip. This was one of those completely ‘self-service’ lodges.

In other words, there were hardly any service staff. You had to do everything on your own.

One morning, I went to the kitchen to prepare a sandwich. I held the glass can of peanut butter in my left hand and with my right, tried to remove the lid.

What I did not realise was that the glass was not strong enough to withstand the pressure. I crushed the can, cleaving it and producing razor sharp fragments that sliced through my skin.

I screamed in pain and that got almost everyone running to me. Meanwhile, the blood was flowing unceasingly from my cuts, particularly on my left thumb.

A large piece of jagged glass had cut through part of my thumb. All I saw was blood spurting from the wound. Everything was red.

A guesthouse employee helped me into his van and rushed me and my family to the local clinic. In my pain, it seemed we took an age to arrive.

When I first laid my eyes on the run down village clinic, to say I was not impressed would be an understatement. Quite literally, I feared for my life.

Many questions ran through my mind. Did they have a qualified doctor to man the clinic?

Would the doctor have the right medical equipment and medicine? Could he stop the haemorrhage and sew up the wound?

The worst question, the one I tried desperately to keep away from my mind and my worried family was – Would this be the last day of my life?

Many years later, my oldest daughter told me that in her childish naivete, she thought I would not survive.

In case you are reading my posting for the first time, please be assured, I am alive. However, I still bear the scar from that experience on my left thumb.

To finish my story, there was a doctor at the clinic. He had on faded white overalls that must have seen many a medical crisis.

He brought me to a corner, and pulled a curtain to give us some privacy. I’m afraid it was not terribly useful; outsiders could easily look at me as the curtain was translucent.

Although I wasn’t administered an anaesthetic, I could not remember how the doctor stopped the bleeding and closed the wound. In any case, I had my face turned away, leaving my life in his hands.

For weeks after that, I was still in pain. The pain however was not as tormenting as the fear that the doctor had left remnants of glass in my hand.

In my wildest moments, I imagined transforming into The Glass Man. As a result of my freak accident, I would become an accidental super hero with the power to turn my enemies into crystal. Ha!

When I think about the frightening experience, I can’t help asking myself- Why does our Creator allow pain in life? Why did He not prevent the accident from happening?

Why did He not heal me immediately? After all He is more than capable. Why did He allow suffering to continue in my life?

These are deep philosophical questions and despite our efforts, humanity has not been able to produce satisfactory answers. I don’t want to pretend I can resolve such imponderables.

All I know is that every pain and every sorrow that I have had to undergo has made me want to reach out to others who are suffering in life.

I understand the pain they are going through because I’m going through it or have gone through it. I am hopeful that I can provide some comfort to those in need of it.

If I look at my experiences in this light, it can make me a better person.

It may sound idealistic but all that matters to me is being able to help my fellow human, one person at a time, and one experience at a time.

The strangest thing is that the more I help others remove darkness from their life, the more the darkness in my life will diminish.

Ultimately, when I am able to totally focus on a worthwhile mission, I won’t even notice the darkness anymore. The bright lights of life will eventually obliterate the remaining darkness in life.

I will be released from every clutch of darkness. I will be free.

The scars that remain will serve to remind me that there is purpose in pain. There is meaning in suffering. Every scar in my life bears its own significance.

I have learned that pain is a messenger. Don’t run away from it or pretend it’s not there.

The message must be urgent enough for it to come with such a strong signal. The better the response, the faster the pain is transformed into a gain.

Embrace pain but don’t succumb to it. Accept it but don’t be resigned to it.

Pain is not a part of you, neither should it be treated apart from you.

Pain can be a platform and not a pitfall, enabling us to build strength and resilience.

It is not a stumbling block, but a stepping stone, that can start a movement for the good of the people around you.

Leverage on pain gainfully.

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


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