Pain is Good
It has been shown to us over and over. No matter what our pain-avoiding instincts try to tell us, pain is good.
It was crystal clear to Dr. Paul Brand from years of experience working with leprosy patients in India, documented in his book The Gift of Pain. People unable to feel pain neglected self-protection to the point of losing fingers and toes and worse.
For too many years I had protected myself from a kind of pain I gladly bear at least twice a week now. Then in 2003, seeing how I couldn't keep up to my kids in a game of soccer, I took up running again.
Now that my muscle tissues are torn on a weekly basis, I am ready for more stretching pain, like the half marathon I am running in on February 15th.
I ran the same race last year. The "Historic Half" takes the runner through scenic Fort Langley and Walnut Grove, revealing a daunting array of elevation changes (mostly uphill). As I jogged the last ½ km or so, I started singing in my head "this is the race that never ends."
A company offers competitors photos taken at the finish line. Seeing my haggard face at the finish in that photo, there was no way I was paying for that shot!
It is about much more than a running race. Facing pain in one facet of your life can help you in many others. Also on February 15th, I have a grant proposal due. Every time I work on the proposal, I feel a similar kind of stretching pain. But I must keep going!
God made us this way. We want to reach the finish line without climbing those punishing hills. We want to succeed in our work, without the punishing twists and turns that success normally requires. Yet it is the pain that makes victory so sweet.
Although I limped across the finish line last year in Fort Langley, I have indelible memories of hanging out in the historic Fort where they had prepared a celebratory campfire for us. I have tried to train this year to do it with less pain, but whatever the case, I'm looking forward to it!