Today I had the pleasure of visiting an Endodontist for a root canal. I had developed an infected tooth over the last week, which after consulting a doctor (who prescribed antibiotics), natural healer (who said he recently had the same thing), and dentist (who took X-rays and confirmed a large abscess on the bone), I finally had it drilled, cleaned, and drained.

Did you notice I said I had the pleasure of visiting an Endodontist?

It turned out, the procedure was virtually painless. The bulk of the pain I suffered happened throughout the week leading up to the appointment.

Prior to the procedure, I posted the words “Root canal…” on my Facebook with a scared emoji face, because I had never had one before. The comments I received were “sad face” and “ugh”. My friends understood there was pain involved, somehow.

Afterward the appointment, I met with my husband and he asked what I wanted to do next. I told him I wanted to take a walk in the woods. Even though I was numb from the novocaine and starting to feel a bit post-procedure pain, I needed to feel pleasure.

We talked about the balance of pain and pleasure. There is no way to escape pain, we both agreed.

Pain will always be a factor in my life. For years I used to fight against it and let it frustrate me. As a result, I became moody and a person who complained–a lot. It wasn’t until I read the first sentence in M. Scott Peck’s book, “The Road Less Traveled”.

It simply stated “Life is difficult”.

Reading those words, as that time, hit me with much clarity and comfort. If life is difficult, then what I was experiencing was normal. Maybe if I learned to stop resisting it, my life would become easier.

Sure enough, I stopped resisting from that moment on, and my life made a major shift for the better.

So today, as I wrestle with a week of major tooth pain, I am okay because I knew that I had enough pleasure in my life to balance it out. The rest of my body was fine and I was able to go for a nice walk with my love, enjoy my kids when they came home from school, and have a nice evening dinner–eating soft foods.

Because I know that pain is inescapable, I have designed a life with enough pleasurable possibilities to offset the painful times. It works very well for me and I am grateful for this life lesson.

Q: What is your relationship with pain?