As I lay in bed, the pain in my chest excruciating, I told myself once more, glancing at the time, “I cannot run this morning.” Every deep inhale of breath was followed by an OUCH! Every slight movement of the body released a groan. No, I CANNOT run today… but I will live to run another day.

Haruki Murakami, a seasoned marathoner, writing about his many race experiences, said “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” This means, you cannot avoid pain in the course of your race, but how you interpret and respond to it is up to you. If you have a “suffering” mentality, you may quit the race altogether. If you understand the inevitability of pain, you will mitigate against it and develop capacity to endure it. What happens to you in and after seasons of pain is largely up to you.

For instance, it has been said that Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. No matter how much a couple are in love with each other, there will be some groans, tears and “ouches” along the way. If you are committed for the long haul, you will choose not to succumb to the emotions of the moment. Instead, you will stay true to your commitment and endure to the end. You will not resign from your long-term martial goal because of a fleeting “chest pain.” You will not make permanent, detrimental decisions because of temporary conflict. Rather, you will allow time to heal all wounds and live to love another day.

Well, it’s Sunday morning. I’m on my way to church. My chest is much better than it was yesterday, although I can still feel traces of the spasm. Such is the nature of pain; it does not last forever. I’m glad my commitment is outlasting my inconvenience. I will live to run another day.

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