Pain and Presence

by Imraan

I’m writing this, not so much as to tell the world about what’s happening with me these days; rather it is so that I might have some-place where it is recorded.

Last night, I went through a (small) ordeal, which necessitated a trip to the Emergency Room to tackle an extreme bout of pain to my abdomen, and chest. In fact, as I speak now, it feels as if it might recur and I’d need carting-off.

Pain,  which I’m not exactly a stranger to, is something that when it seizes your being, it feels as if it consumes you.

Something happened, though, when this particular pain took. It was so intense, so extreme, I was writhing around in agony, sweating, retching, burning, shouting, shaking… it was unrelenting in a way I’ve never known. Its appearance to me was profound as in a sense, it was the one thing by which my reality was defined entirely at that moment.

But I realised something at that moment, when things felt so bleak.

My mother was running around fetching me drinks to cool off, rubbing on my legs to stop them from writhing around, whilst we were waiting for the paramedics to arrive.


As those moments were passing – and slowly, I might add – by which time I was curled in the foetal position, when I thought (or said), “O God, you’re there.” I think I asked Him to Preserve me.

Odd as it sounds for me to bother writing about this, I think a lingering question I’ve had in my mind, as I’ve slowly come-back to religious belief, has been trying to understand why suffering people in the world could even feign a state of Belief, let-alone acknowledge it. When they had more than continual moments of despair (I admit, my life is a cakewalk by comparison, and this crippling pain lasted only an hour before the Entinox gas helped relieve it, before they carted me off to hospital); yet, in that moment of utter, excruciating pain that I imagined would last forever, as I was losing the feeling in my hands, I could not help *but* to notice Him.

I’m not claiming I had a mystical appearance before me, nor an ‘experience,’ nor was somehow granted Access to His Presence in the way the sages of old and the gnostics today claim. Not in the least.

But at that moment of pure pain, worry, with the strangest, most intense, sensations and malfunctions of my body occurring, it made absolute, and perfect sense, to in some sense see, and believe in God; to notice that my being is already in Surrender to His Majesty.

And for that moment alone, I actually ‘saw’ something which I can only call Beauty.

Odd, right?

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