Ow. I’ve got a thorn in the flesh.

Actually, it’s ‘gangliating’ smack dab behind my right eyeball like an acupuncturist from hades. The pain originates somewhere in my neck (like a faucet), rakes across my skull through hyperactive nerve endings (the hose), and explodes out the front of my head (like a homicidal sprinkler). Pretty vivid, I know. So is my migraine.

I don’t get them as bad as some people do. I don’t see auras, UFOs, or Three’s Company reruns dancing magically across my field of vision. I get nasty pain, some nausea, and a general feeling like I want God to stop the world so I can get off. Or everyone else could get off and leave me be. Either way.

Actually, that’s not totally true. I live with this pretty well and things are much better than they used to be. I used to have more headache time than pain free time. Now it’s more sporadic, praise God.

I often wonder what life would be like without my brain getting numbed out by medication. Or without having to lie down and pull the shades all the time. I imagine a life without a chiropractor or the muted suppers at the table with my kids whispering so daddy’s cranium doesn’t explode. I wonder what life would be like without my thorn in the flesh.

I’ve prayed about it, you see. Ten thousand, four hundred and eleven times, give or take. And I’ve been part of two churches who took it upon themselves to pray for me regularly. Many hundreds of good, well meaning people — united in a noble purpose, aimed squarely at my skull in prayer. And still I struggle.

God’s grace has been (sigh) sufficient. I wish I could rejoice in it like Paul would have in my shoes.

Maybe one day, when I grow up.