Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No Pain, No Gain?

Last week I had childcare lined up for my denomination's uber-committee meeting. The meeting was cancelled due to lack of interest in the middle of August and the woman I had lined up for childcare told me to go do something for me instead.

Yes. We love her.

I immediately contacted Ladyburg and we narrowed down our options to:
a) Get pedicures and coffee
b) Go to her gym so I could learn part of the routine her trainer puts her through.

My friends, I am here to tell you - always go with (a) - pedicures and coffee. I realize for some of you that is an absolute no-brainer. What can I say, I'm still a tomboy.

I spent the next few days post-workout in pretty decent pain. It was a good pain meaning I didn't pull any weird muscles or anything, it was just the normal sore after working out the muscles. Ladyburg mentioned that her trainer has said something about it having to hurt afterwards in order to know you had a good workout and you really worked the muscle.

I guess since I am not into muscle building as much as muscle toning, I had hoped for a little less pain. I mean, does it REALLY have to hurt just in order to get stronger? If you just try to maintain where you are now, does that mean no pain?

Or does no pain mean that you are not progressing.

Of course this now translates into my marriage.

Until the beginning of this year I really thought we were in a good place. Sure, there were times when we were running parallel lives, but what marriage with a child does not go through those ups and downs? We were maintaining... or maybe only I was maintaining, I'm not sure.

Now of course, we are in the midst of a lot of pain. Sometimes I can see us together way in the distance - and we look incredibly strong for having come through all of this pain. Sometimes I can only see myself in the distance - and again stronger for having gone through the experience.

But right now, I just wish we somehow could have avoided all of this pain.

Soon after we lost Baby Snowpea I preached a sermon on life's disappointments. One of my favorite parts of the sermon was when I preached a familiar illustration and then turned it upside down on its head, giving people permission to feel sad and weak in whatever moment they were in themselves:

There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man there was work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

After awhile the man became very discouraged at his lack of progress. He became disheartened and he asked himself, “Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough."

And that he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of Prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock a half an inch. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?

Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. BUT YOUR CALLING WAS TO BE OBEDIENT, TO PUSH AND TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN MY WISDOM.

This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock."

Because we are in church I will refrain from telling you that right now I hate this annoying illustration. I do not want to be strong and muscled with my back brown – I am happy with pale and flabby and I just want to stop hurting. I do not want to be obedient. I do not want to exercise my faith and trust in God’s wisdom. Lord, if you can move the rock, then by all means save us all some trouble and please do so.

This just about sums up where I now find myself again. I get that this pain will eventually make me stronger. Thanks. I've read that greeting card.

But for right now, I just don't want to hurt anymore.
And I'm not so sure getting stronger is worth the pain.


jill said...

I so wish--like ALL THE TIME--that the end result (muscled, brown back, what have you) would show itself just a bit faster!

Hang in there, WS. The rest of us have got your (brown, muscled, or pale, flabby) back.


ppb said...

My favorite line is this is "thanks I got that greeting card."

I'm sorry everything hurts.

more cows than people said...

i hear you. i do.

introspectreangel said...

I hear you, too. Everyone says it's day by day. I am finding it is more hour by hour. Can we just be done with the pain and have the stronger, more resilient, more confident me just hurry up and get here already?

Peace and blessings to you.

Songbird said...

Oh, I have so been there, and I am here for you. ]*
It's no wonder your people love you. You have a gift for telling the truth about what it feels like to be human and to struggle in the moment.

cheesehead said...

Yep. Sign me up for the "Hey, God, can you move the freakin' rock for me?" club.

So sorry you are going through this.


Michele R said...

How do we know the difference between the rocks God wants us to push, and the rocks we decide to push ourselves? Maybe some things are other people's rocks to push.

Althea N. Agape said...

I think if one more person had told me going through a separation was a "growing experience" I might have belted them. It was, of course, but I did NOT need to be told that again and again.... actually it sort of became a joke after a while. not a funny one, mind you.

Remember, We're with you in prayer, even if we can't be with you in person.

sherry said...

I want to know why I am still only 5'2" after all these growing experiences?

LadyBurg said...

{{{{Will smama}}}}

Those are my sore arms giving you a quick hug.

The pain sucks. Not everything should have to hurt so bad!

revrosa said...

Things life has taught me:
*Suffering in and of itself is not redemptive. Never has been, never will be.
*I am suspicious of anyone who says they are glad for the pain--isn't that masochism???
*Reaching the other side of a hard time always catches me by surprise and totally shatters everything I thought I knew about grace. I am grateful for a God whose grace exceeds my imagination.
*Even having come to understand that much about grace, nothing of what I have learned helps with the pain. Does other things, for sure, but it doesn't make any other pain more bearable. Pain just sucks.


Shawna Renee said...

(((Will smama)))

will smama said...


Sue said...

I truly wish you didn't have to hurt so much.

]* ws

Rev Scott said...

I'm praying for your rock (and mine!) to get moving.

Magdalene6127 said...

I'm sorry you are going through this... afgo (another f$%*ing growth experience). It sucks, and don't let anyone tell you "why" it is happening. That is for you to know and you alone, and much, much later...that is, if there even is a "why."



reverendmother said...

As I said when someone told me that a person who was in great pain crossed my path in order to teach me something, "That's too damn high a price to pay for an object lesson."

Marie said...

Praying for less pain for you and SO agreeing that God should move the damn rock, already.