Living Through Pain
Psalms and the Search for Wholeness


“The interface between the psalms and the reality of human suffering is a long established conversation. In this book Swenson brings new life and freshness to that interface. She does so by exacting engagement with contemporary literature on the reality of pain and medical research. The outcome is a rich dialogue whereby “pain theory” illuminates the psalms and the psalms, in turn, offer a suggestive dimension to pain theory. The book is “down and dirty” in its engagement with real life. It will be an important study for men and women of faith who live with pain and for those in the helping professions who live with the pain of others. Swenson shows how the psalms, when read and heard, are indeed instruments for the existential, concrete processing of pain in healing ways.”
Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary, author of TheThreat of Life: Sermons on Pain, Power, and Weakness

“This is a powerful, insightful, and challenging meditation on a universal human experience that requires us to examine how we engage the experience of pain.”
Ana Maria Catanzaro, Associate Professor, LaSalle University School of Nursing

“Swenson presents the psalms as living companions to persons in pain. Her reading of the psalms prescribes no doctrine. Instead, she guides us in opening ourselves to this often strange language and allowing the verses to resonate within us. Swenson shows how the psalms can help people renew meaning in their lives, without ever imposing that meaning.”
Arthur W. Frank, Professor of Sociology, University of Calgary, author of The Wounded Storyteller

“A must read for those who want to understand how shrieks and groans and desperate sighs both fracture and bring unexpected healing to the human spirit. This book is not fo the fainthearted or for those who seek easy answers. And that is good news!”
Joan E. Hemenway, President, Association for Clinical Pastoral Education

“… a wise and poignant evocation of the circuitous journey of chronic pain winding from suffering, anguish, and despair to dependence, self-knowledge, acceptance, and ultimately transcendence.”
Dennis C. Turk, John and Emma Bonica Professor of Anesthesiology & Pain Research, University of Washington

“Swenson shows how the process of living through pain — not the denial of pain or an all-consuming search for relief — can be understood as a quest to reintegrate the fractured self into a fully alive, whole person.”
David B. Morris, University Proessor, University o fVirginia, author of The Culture of Pain