Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thoughts on Pain

“There are two kinds of PAIN: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret”

I deal with pain every day.

Every morning I wake up with severe pain in my feet.  There are times that the pain is so exquisite that I cannot walk without stretching them out and massaging them for a few minutes first.  I get out of bed and hobble around my bedroom to try and loosen them up.  Getting out of bed is a very painful experience for me.

What do I do about it?

I run.

Every day; 4:30 AM,  I run about 4 miles to warm up for the day before I head off to work.

Does it hurt? Yes. 

Then why do you do it? Because of the growth I experience

The sharp pain of my body is nothing compared to the invigorating experience it is to step out my door, rain, snow or clear (rain makes it even more fun/painful).  To look at the shadow of the mountains and see the moon and the stars in the morning sky, to breathe in the cold air and to push my body forward on the morning journey.  To listen to nothing but my own breathing (no iPod’s here) the steady pace of my legs moving and the quiet whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Mind, body, and spirit working in unison to move forward.  There is nothing like it.  It is worth every ounce of pain.

After about a half mile, my pain begins to ease and I settle into a steady pace.

With pain, there are two eternal truths that we all need to understand:

•    Eternal Truth #1: Growth does not occur without pain. Starting with Adam and Eve, their growth depended on their willingness to accept pain.

•    Eternal Truth #2: Pain is inevitable…suffering is optional.

To avoid pain, or to mitigate it will stunt growth and may even eliminate growth possibilities altogether.

Suffering on the other hand is a conscious choice.  The suffering I’m talking about here is the kind that is brought on by sin, guilt and remorse. To learn to avoid suffering is the very purpose of our existence on the Earth.

The basic and fundamental principle of muscle growth is based on painful events tearing muscles down causing them to become strengthened and grow as they recover and heal. We call this process: EXERCISE. It is the same with our mind and spirit.

Individually, I tend to set standards for myself that are pretty high.  I will not ask someone to walk a path that I am not willing to walk. I realize that many will not expect this of themselves and I’m OK with that.  I make my choice to experience what I do so that others can benefit if they are willing to learn from my experience.  This is what warriors do; they experience pain in the hope that others may not have to suffer. Our Savior was the ultimate warrior, because he experienced the ultimate state of pain and suffering for all.

I believe that many; if not most Priesthood Men, would like to learn to be warriors.  These are hard lessons and they come ONLY WITH pain.  If a person is not willing to ‘gut-check’ once in a while and admit that they may be wrong and must change, then they are not ready to grow. They are not ready to accept the mantle of the warrior. 

Maybe I’m wrong in what I am writing right now.  All I know is that I feel moved and inspired in what I have learned over the years and in the sharing of these experiences there is even greater opportunity for growth.  Indeed, it is slightly painful to share these experiences for fear that someone may not appreciate them, or worse…choose to be offended by them.

Unfortunately some do choose to take offense and suffer.  All are free to make that choice.

I am not a perfect man.  There has only been one of those and we all can only aspire to be perfected in Him through His pain.  I accept responsibility for any flaws that exist here.  In my efforts to be a precision tool, I sometimes am more like a blunt instrument.

The Warrior’s journey is a beautifully painful one.  Enjoy it.

(BTW - in case you I have made a better habit of running, the pain in my feet has decreased.  It still hurts to run, but it hurts more NOT TO. As my feet have gotten stronger, the pain decreases.  For me the choice is between the pain of activity and fitness or the pain of not being fit, overweight, high blood pressure and ulcers...)

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? SO RUN that ye may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24