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Here's to Pain

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I am surrounded by a landfill of eraser shreds and scattered notebook paper—the result of my desperate attempts to do the seemingly impossible. Like the petals being plucked off of a daisy by a young girl, the precious minutes of the night disappear one by one and leave me disoriented and alone in my pursuit of escape from this madness. Let me assure you that this is no exaggeration or stereotype of the act of completing calculus homework. I promise that it really is torture. And yet, here I am, teetering on the edge of frustration’s rugged cliff, about to fall into a fit of hopeless, exasperated tears, and I find myself gritting my teeth and moving on to the next problem. Five to go. This late at night, however, it may as well be five trillion.

When I think of doing calculus, one word comes to mind. Pain. I am literally in pain when struggling with particularly difficult calculus concepts. That’s not the only time I’m in pain throughout my day, though. I’m also in pain during my field hockey practice right before I get home to do my homework. The coach is screaming for me to go harder and faster, while my muscles protest and threaten to rip out of my skin if I continue. And yet, what do I do? I go harder. I go faster.

Pain is so many things. It can be physical or mental, long or short-lived. Its causes are infinite; from losing a loved one, to stubbing your toe. There is one commonality, however, that can be seen in every single kind of pain. It is beatable. It will only control you for as long as you let it. Though you may still feel the pain, the moment you decide to keep going in spite of it is the true turning point. It’s the moment that you know you’ve found something that you personally feel is worth working for. It’s the moment that the pain has been defeated.

A life without pain sounds fantastic to most, but, if you truly understood pain, you would cringe at the thought of it. What would become of our friends joy, pleasure, and happiness if pain didn’t exist to oppose them? They too would cease to exist because they are the light at the end of the dark tunnel of pain. If we were never in that tunnel to begin with, then we wouldn’t be able to experience that light at the end. We wouldn’t be able to blink in stunned silence like a newborn as that light pierced our eyes, breathe deep the new sense of security, or feel the relief of “Man, I’m glad I had the strength to make it out of there.” wash over us. Therefore, if there was no pain, then there’d be nothing.

The majority of the time, it isn’t even the pain and hard work that prevents us from accomplishing our dreams or goals. It’s really our lack of commitment or value for those goals that makes it acceptable in our own minds to quit. In my opinion, though, the worst form of pain is regret. It is for this reason that I push through every pain in every part of my day. It’s because I can be sure that when I beat the pain, I will feel accomplished. It’s because I can be sure that if I quit instead, and let the pain win, I will feel that gritty, dark feeling of regret heavy and unrelenting in my bones.
For me, pain is a reminder of how bad I want something. It is the sacrifice I make to get an A on a calculus test or score the winning goal in a field hockey game. It is the single price of success; our friend and our enemy. Most of all, though, pain is the force that makes us appreciate and cherish the truly beautiful and most blissful moments of our lives.





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DreamGlider said...
Aug. 29, 2009 at 11:38 pm
You have given me a new perspective on pain. I suddenly feel as though I can get through life and all it's trials. I can't let the pain win, and I won't. You have innovated a new strength within me. I truely admire your posative views on pain.
 
rex said...
Oct. 5, 2008 at 10:37 pm
this writing really hits home for many of us who know what it is like to really pursue our goals and aspirations in life. Excellent descriptive on pain and it's worth.
 
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