Confession: I like the easy life. I am pain averse. I am one of those mothers who cringes and has to look away when her child is being injected. I hate hospitals. I avoid them at any cost. Not just hospitals, but any place associated with pain.
But as I prepare to climb Rwenzori, I have had to deal with pain. There is lots of pain associated with the process for preparation – especially through the physical exercises. Some days, depending on what exercise I have done, I feel pain in my upper arms, pain in my lower arms, pain on my rear end – from spinning, pain in my abdomen. Many times after our 21 kilometer walks, I feel pain in my hip joints, or pain in my knees, or pain in my legs. I feel pain as I do crunches, pain as I climb steps. I have not yet cried because of the pain, but many times, I have wanted to give up. Other times, in order to get through the pain, I either shut my eyes very tightly or I purse my lips.
But this process has also taught me many valuable lessons about pain. Lessons like, it’s at the point when I feel pain that I must press on. That pain is weakness leaving my body. That I should go on despite pain. That if I want something bad enough, I will press past the pain. Anything worth fighting for is worth going through the pain. I have learned that pain speaks of experience. Pain is part of the growth process. It’s part of getting better and stronger. I have learned that pain pays. There is victory at the end of pain. Feeling pain is letting go of comfort, of the easy way, the easy road. I have learned that pain brings me closer and closer to my goal. Pain means I am not giving up on myself. Pain means that I expect better of myself, that I am getting to the next level. I have learned to speak encouragement to myself as I go through pain. I have learned that nothing worthwhile is easy. Pain may look like an inconvenience, but the comfort zone does us no good. Instead the comfort zone kills the body, the mind and the spirit. I have learned to feel the pain and do it any way. I have learned that pain separates the mediocre from the great, those who are world class from those who are average.
Most of all, I have learned that pain is part of the process of progress. And I am slowly making progress, one ouch at a time.