Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Pain But No Fear"

I unashamedly confess that I am an Olympics junkie. Whenever the Olympic Games are on, winter or summer, I'm glued to the TV. Yesterday was one of the greatest days for American athletes ever in the Winter Games: 6 medals including 3 golds.

What a thrill it was to watch Lindsey Vonn ski an amazing run in the women's downhill! And, she did so despite a painful shin injury. As a skier, I appreciate what it took for her to give her best despite the pain. The New York Times headline on the Sport's Page read: "Pain But No Fear As Vonn Wins Downhill."

The fear of pain is one of the limiting factors in living life to its fullest. While pain is a signal that something is wrong, avoiding pain is not necessarily a good thing. For example, if we avoid loving relationships because we're afraid of the pain of loss or rejection, then our life is diminished.

We need to pay attention to our pains and use wisdom to discern which to avoid and which to embrace. Seeking pain for its own sake doesn't make sense. But enduring pain in order to achieve something good and positive often makes sense.

There is no way to avoid all pain. To try to do so would undermine our living a rich and full life. Neither should we allow our fear of pain to keep us from doing the things that enhance life. Pain is a teacher and we are its students. To fear the teacher is a roadblock to learning our life lessons.

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