‘Through the Looking Glass’

‘Through the Looking Glass’

“‘I’m very brave generally,’ he went on in a low voice: ‘only to-day I happen to have a headache.’”  So said Tweedledum in Through the Looking Glass (And What Alice Found There) by Lewis Carroll.

Carroll suffered from migraine, as do I. It’s little wonder that a headache showed up in one of his characters. When you have a headache, especially major ones like migraines, they show up in all parts of your life.


Some lucky people in my life claim to have never had a headache, much less a migraine. I, on the other hand, have difficulty remembering a recent day without one. This is no pity party. It’s just my reality, and I do my darnedest to cope with it as best as I know how. While chronic migraine may be my Achille’s heal, every single person has some pain—physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological—that shows up frequently and at inconvenient times in life.

While we each are shaped by events, experiences, people, and challenges of all kinds, we can choose how we cope with them. St. Paul had his own weakness or struggle. Some Scripture scholars think this was a pain or illness; others think it may have been a difficult person. Whatever it was, he viewed his weakness as an opportunity to allow God’s power to work in and through him. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote:

“A thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me. . . . Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (12:5-10).

Many times I’ve prayed that God release me from my migraines, but they continue. With all areas of weakness and pain in my life, I cope best when I admit that I need God to help me through them, when I recognize my need for God.


In his first letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells us to hang in there, to grow:

“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (13:9-13).

God calls me to grow and to trust that the purpose behind my pains and challenges will be revealed in time. Until then, I try to be faithful, hopeful, and loving—in spite of, and perhaps because of, the pain.

P.S. I hope this all makes some sense. I’m very articulate generally, only today I happen to have a headache.

image: photoxpress.com / www.n8sheim.de


About the Author

Joan McKamey works for Liguori Publications.