Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pain Junkies

I am pretty strongheaded! It takes me a few times of falling flat on my face before I get it. Now it's not necessarily because I'm a pain-junkie or anything like that, it's just that sometimes I'm so convinced about something, that life has to smack me around a few times before my perspective begins to change. Take for instance the time that my son was mouthing off to me about how old I am. Being the balanced, intelligent and emotionally calm parent that I am, I challenged him to a race to demonstrate my agility and ageless speed. In all fairness to me, I did at one time run a 12 second 100 meters, so I can't be blamed completely for thinking that somewhere inside me still resided the "beast" that once was.

Reality often paints a far different picture from fantasy, and I discovered this fact yet again, the hard way! I stretched and warmed up in preparation while my son picked his teeth and looked entirely disinterested in the proceedings. My wife, being the good sport that she is, was the starting umpire and tried to give me every possible advantage. We took off running the minute she said "go" and to my utter surprise and amazement I found myself well in front of my son. All went as I envisioned until about the 50 meter mark, when my aging body went on strike. I felt this agonizing pain all the way down my left leg and thought I would keel over. Common sense, among other good reasons dictated that I stop immediately, and so like the wise man that I am I doggedly limped to the finish line neck and neck with my son who would have overtaken me if we had had two more feet to go. The sprained muscle in my leg took over a month to heal (don't you hate that about getting older?).

You can be sure that's the last time I ever challenged him to a race. Even I know to quit when I'm ahead (or neck and neck) depending on your perspective. Sometimes this type of tenacity comes from a deeper place than "pig-headedness." The Bible actually says that the righteous man may fall seven times, but he will rise again. In Jeremiah's treatise, he rhetorically asks, "if you have run with footmen and they have wearied you, how can you hope to contend against horses...." My tenacity prepares me for some of the rigors that life throws my way. I refuse to quit in the middle of the race, no matter how much pain I'm in, because I know that, "though weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning." What's your pain threshold like? Do you quit the race at the slightest twinge or are you impervious to pain?