• Andrea Neil

The Pain of a Broken Arm

Updated: Jul 20

This past weekend my son broke his arm while we were playing pick-up soccer at a local park. He was in goal and stretched out to save a shot. He immediately felt the pain and it was the way in which he called out that I knew something more significant had happened. I knew in my gut that his arm had been broken, and we immediately went to the hospital.

It is interesting because we had been talking as a family in the weeks before his injury, about the inevitability of pain in the process of our lives as human beings.

We had been reinforcing to him (and, no doubt, also to ourselves) that the pains in our lives arise in a myriad of ways, emotional, mental, and physical. When they do occur in life, we must find the place within us to move through them in the best way that we can, with acceptance for what is occurring.

Pain and sadness are a normal and temporary part of our lives, but suffering can be very long-standing.

We cause ourselves to suffer when we don’t recognize and accept that as part of our human experience, we experience pain. When we fight these painful moments with rejection, then instead of being able to respond to the pain, there is a cascading reaction to it. When we react this way the original pain then grows into the deeper problem of suffering. This suffering shows up, for example, as feeling a loss of autonomy (‘look at what I can’t do now’), a perception of weakness ("I am supposed to appear strong to others"), or of victimhood ("why me")?

I was in awe of the way that my son moved through his initial pain with strength, courage, tolerance, and patience. He was a role model for me as he responded and remained in a calm, yet centered place. He was uncomfortable, but he accepted what had happened and in that moment, he helped me move through my pain as well, both as a mother witnessing her son’s injury and as the player who had struck the ball that broke his arm.

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Sending light and warmth your direction, wherever you are in this world.


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