Pain in Perspective

Sometimes biking hurts. My legs burn while I climb a hill. My body is sore after a long ride. My mind wants to go faster than my limbs say they are capable of.
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Last Wednesday, I arrived at my church to set up everything for up worship practice after a fast, hard bike ride. I was running up and down the stairs, getting the sound system ready to go. My legs were like little lumps of jelly, protesting each dash up the staircase.

But then the other singers arrived to practice and I found out that one of the ladies has recently been diagnosed with moderate-to-severe arthritis. She also needs a knee replacement. To stand up for any length of time, she has to rock on her other leg to be able to endure the pain.  She remarked that if she stayed in bed all day, the pain would go away. But since she is the primary caretaker for her seven year grandson who is as adorable as he is energetic, laying in bed all day is simply not an option.

Instantly, grumbling at my sore legs felt massively silly and juvenile.  This lady lives with her pain on a daily basis. Pain that won’t let up, pain that signifies an aging body, pain without any benefits. She goes through so much suffering but she bears it with grace and poise.

I can’t help but see the contrasts with the pain I “endure” on my bike.

My pain is temporary.
If I want to make any discomfort end, the solution is simple. Back off, slow down, stop. Voila! Pain eradicated.

My pain is healthy.

Every time I push my body to go faster and further than it wanted to go, I am increasing my fitness and endurance. It makes me better at something I love to do.

My pain is optional.

I chose to make my body feel this way by pushing it beyond what felt comfortable.

My pain is satisfying.
When my body complains, it means I am working hard on my bike. And working hard on my bike feels good. It is fun to see just what my body is capable of.

This past week whenever I was out on my bike and my brain made me aware that what I was doing wasn’t comfortable, I reminded myself that this is the good kind of pain.

Someday, maybe due to an injury or an illness I will have to deal with “bad” pain. But until then I am going to be thankful for the discomfort I feel on my bike and the benefits I derive from it.