Have you seen the new New Balance running shoe television advertisement? It features a male runner, plodding through a techno-futuristic-high-rise landscape with a grim look on his face. It appears that he has gone quite a distance, for the sweat on his body glistens to display this. The ad addresses balance, and achieving it through running. A Love / Hate symbol appears at the upper left hand side of the screen, and as the commercial comes to a close, and the man fades away, a smile beginning to creep across his face, the Love side of the graphic enlarges, while the Hate reduces – Love / Hate. We love to grow, get stronger and faster, but we sometimes hate the process we must go through to reach that.

There is an analogy between this type of muscle growth for a purpose – as in a race, compared to the trials and tribulations of life, for our goal of personal growth – a stronger, more peaceful life. When we work out our bodies lifting weights, running, biking, swimming, or participating in a team sport, we actually tear down healthy muscle to build new, stronger muscle in its place. It sounds a bit backwards when you think about it, that we actually break down, and feel the pain sometimes, to reach a goal. To win a race, to score points, to be more healthy.

This tearing down of our own bodies puts into perspective some of the trials we go through in life. By trials, I’m talking about love hurts, family issues, raising children, financial difficulties, illness and death. Everyone has trials. Life is not easy, whether you have lots or little of wealth, beauty, talent or intelligence.

Every person in the western world has been hurt physically and emotionally in some way in their lifetime. Of course, the degree of hurt or pain may vary according to the way it happened or was inflicted. We’ve all bumped, scratched or bruised at least some part of our body. Some of us have had illness and life-changing surgery. We all had a brother or sister or friend that said something mean to us and hurt our feelings, and many of us have been hurt much worse by the words or actions of a colleague, dear friend or family member. And many of us have dealt with financial strain, brought upon by emergency situations or by our own misdeeds. And death, it speaks for itself as a trial.

The beautiful thing is that we can regard these trials as the tearing down of our heart, as opposed to our muscles, but that the tearing will reap a stronger heart, revealing a faster recovery time the next time we endure a hurt. The process of healing, if we can recognize it, is when we can realize that we are not in control. The next time pain happens, we are better/faster at healing and dealing with it.

Pain is there for a reason, so rejoice in it! We will be stronger in the future.

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