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This piece is about ego and about pain, two human afflictions. Ego is often thought of as I, or id.
It is most often used by people to measure their self-worth. It is more than just internal. It is a show of possessions, of things, of happenings.
Many of these showings are expected by society, are a measure of success, usually expressed by physical possessions, costs, appearances, apparent well being. Things to be strived for.
Pain is an expression of something wrong, something different, something to be tolerated, but only to a point. Pain is associated with gain - with change. It is also associated with sameness - with status quo.
Generally, the greatest pain moves people to seek relief. But relief is painful when it denies change.
Many of you know my daughter, Melanie. She has been a long-time visitor to the Cedar Keys. A few years back when I was so sick and hanging on to the edge of life, Melanie turned her life and her plans around. They were put on hold to be reexamined at some later time. She moved to Cedar Key to be near to me, and to help Anne and others provide for me in what was expected to be my last days.
Here's what Melanie has to say about experiencing pain in attempts to remove ego.
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Ego Surgery, Elective
By Melanie Benedict
Sometimes I just get weary of being taught by God. He's been teaching me a lot lately. Which is supposed to be great, right? And it is. But it's also h-a-r-d, hard.
The crux of all the lessons is the same. I need to empty myself of my ego if I want greater intimacy with God. And I do want greater intimacy. So what have I been doing? Praying for greater intimacy. And what has God been doing? Revealing every barrier of desire, one by one, and asking me to kill them. Which of course I cannot do. So I have to ask Him to kill them. But in the middle of the execution I start screaming for Him to stop. I have changed my mind. I do not want this surgery. I do not want to die. Never mind, Lord. Forget I said anything. Let's go back to peace and quiet for a while, okay? He relents. And so the battle continues.
Hopkins, a documentary/reality show, follows doctors and patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. In one episode, a patient had been brought into the ER who had dislocated his shoulder and was in severe pain. The doctor held the man's arm and told him they were going to pop it back into place and that it would hurt, but only for a second. The man, who seemed to be intoxicated, started yelling, "No, no, no. Stop. Don't do it!" The doctor let go of his arm, stepped back and said "Okay. You can go through life with your arm like that if you want to." Needless to say, the man left the hospital with his shoulder back in its rightful position.
God shot me with that one. Melanie, He said, Do you want to go through life with a dislocated self, full of ego, knowing that it will prevent you from the greater healing and intimacy that I want you to have? And I'm stuck. How do you answer that? And so it continues. Yes, Lord, do what you want. No! Stop! Wait!
So can you see, just a little, why I'm weary? Let's just do the surgery and be done with it! And yet I can't make it all the way through. So it's just a tedious, painful process.
But I'll grant God one thing, He is increasing my yearning for intimacy with Him. Day by day increasing it to the point where the pain begins to come from another direction, the pain of separation from Him slowly competing with the pain of execution. And maybe that is exactly the anesthesia I need.
Melanie, daughter of Gene and former resident of Cedar Key, is a freelance writer in Atlanta. You can read more of her writing at www.lifeonatinyisland.blogspot.com