Pain don’t hurt. Have you heard that saying?
What a load of BS. Pain does hurt. The definition of pain is an unpleasant physical sensation.
However, just because pain is unpleasant or painful, doesn’t mean it’s bad.
A story of a painful experience
Recently, I was in the Caribbean with my husband and some of our friends. We were staying right on the beach, and it was a beach littered with vendors selling many things, the most popular of which seemed to be the watersports. You could go parasailing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, kite boarding, paddle boarding, wear a jet pack or a fly board, and there were a variety of tubing options.
After a morning of scuba diving, Josh, me and two of our friends were enjoying a snack and drinks on the end of a pier. It was a sunny day and we were watching all of the water sports happening around us.
We decided to take a ride on Big Mabel before heading back to our hotel. Big Mabel was a couch shaped tube that is pulled behind a speedboat. It has s couch-style back and a seashell shaped bottom. Essentially, you sit with your legs straight out, your back against the couch-shaped back, and you hold on to the handles on the seat just to the right and left of your butt. It can hold up to four people, so we all went together.
Our first step was to figure out how much it would cost us. After my husband attempted to negotiate a 30-minute ride instead of the normal 15-minute ride, for no extra cost, and the beach vendor only budging enough to give us an extra 5 minutes, we handed over payment.
We put on the required life jackets and piled onto the raft, sitting in a row with the guys on the outsides and the ladies in the middle. Almost as soon as we sat down and grabbed the handles on the seat, the boat took off. The ocean was choppy, as usual, so we began bouncing and thrashing around. The driver swung us out to the left, then across the wake, and then out to the right.
From the first bounce, we all laughed. And kept laughing. About 4 minutes into the ride, my abs were immensely painful and I could barely breath, because I was laughing so hard. I hadn’t laughed that hard for that long in a while.
At about that same time, I noticed it was getting more difficult to see, because the sea spray was constantly hitting me in the face and burning my eyes. They had made us remove our sunglasses when leaving our stuff on the beach, so none of us had any eye protection. It reminded me of the time I went skydiving through a lite rain. The sting to the face was similar.
This time though, with it being salt water, the burning was more intense and my mouth started producing saliva to counteract the salt. Since my mouth was stuck in a grin state due to the uncontrollable laughter and the salt water was blinding me and making me salivate, I could feel drool begin to seep down my cheek.
I wish there had been a video camera on the boat, because I would have definitely bought the video. We must have been a sight.
Besides my abs hurting and my eyes burning, the other unexpected discomforts were banging into each other and banging against the raft. When we’d hit a particularly large bump, Josh’s arm would sometimes come slamming back down onto my arm. Those large bumps would also severely jolt our bodies. A few times I heard my vertebrae cracking from the downward force.
When our 20 minutes were up, we were grateful the vendor had denied us a 30-minute ride. As the raft pulled into the beach, we didn’t step off, jump off or scoot off. We basically rolled off into the water like lumps… barely moving. Our arms were sore, our eyes were a bit red, and some of us were bleeding and had raft burns. A lot of that pain was present the day after as well.
Perspective on pain
As I remember that week-long trip, that 20-minute ride is one of my fondest memories. It was a lot of fun. I love to laugh, and it did not disappoint in that aspect.
It reminds me that sometimes we go through pain, but pain isn’t always bad. Sometimes pain is just a sign that we are growing.
When you work out, if you really push yourself, you’ll experience pain. That’s how you build a stronger body… by pushing it to its limit so it can find a new, higher limit.
Mothers often remark on labor being one of the most painful experiences in life, but totally worth.
Sometimes it isn’t physical pain we experience. Working toward a goal can often come with the pains of discipline, battling doubts, and overcoming fears. Rarely does any great accomplishment come from an experience void of pain.
So, does pain hurt?
Is pain a bad thing?
What pain have you experienced that led you to an experience you are proud of or would never take back, even if you could? Some pains help shape us. So if going through something bad helped make you a better person, can it be called a bad pain?
Maybe pain isn’t good or bad. Maybe our reaction to it is what can be judged as good or bad.