“I hope it doesn’t hurt too much…!” the Inevitability of Pain and the Optional Nature of Suffering

Cathy Presland
3 min readSep 24, 2017

I hope it doesn’t hurt!

grimaced my husband as I drove him to the doctor this week.

He’d recently had a hip operation and was due to have the staples out. Well overdue actually. His physiotherapist had tut-tutted at the wound when she saw him the week before,

Those staples should really come out,

she said, frowning,

Otherwise they can become embedded under the skin and that makes them impossible to pull out. And very painful.

Pain. Great!

The delay was due to some paperwork mix-up with the GP.

Couldn’t be helped,

they said.

Hubby was worried though, imagining the embeddedness and, no doubt, violent extraction of said staples.

Is Pain a Problem?

Is it a problem that it might hurt?

I asked him, glancing over.

He looked at me with surprise.

What do you mean? I don’t want it to hurt!

Sure, none of us wants to experience pain, but in some circumstances, pain is inevitable, and it looked to me to be one of those times.

The future is always unknown, and worrying about it wasn’t going to alleviate the potential pain. It did, however, add stress and anxiety to his experience of our car journey.


he mused, and went quiet. We continued the drive in silence.

Pain versus Suffering

Here what happens in life: we face things that hurt. Sometimes it’s physical pain — a fall, an illness, an operation, cycling through nettles(!) Sometimes it’s emotional pain — hurtful words, a loss, the illness or struggle of someone we love. Life sucks, and we’re in no position to control it.

AND, what we seem to be trained to avoid the hurt; to make the pain into a ‘bad thing’, something we would rather be without.

We don’t have to welcome pain, but we don’t have to avoid it either. We can take care of…

Cathy Presland

What if making an impact was part of your everyday? Stories to light up your soul. Read more and free courses: https://cathypresland.com/