Saturday, February 22, 2014

An Invitation to Pain

Roughly four weeks ago now I made a decision which has had a significant ongoing impact on my life. This is not an unusual thing. Not for me, nor anyone else. Life is full of choices, and all choices have consequences. Naturally, many of our daily decisions are trivial matters which we make quickly and without any real consideration. However, the bigger, potentially more beneficial or disastrous choices must be thought through carefully.

This is one area where I excel: thinking things through. I am an analytical and reflective person who does not take major decisions lightly. Generally, I am neither reactive nor spontaneous. I weigh up my options and take into account the possible ramifications. I run through scenarios in my mind, and I also talk to people. Sometimes, I talk because I think the person to whom I am speaking may be able to help me with some fresh insight into the situation. Other times, I talk because the act of vocalizing a problem or a dilemma is, in itself, helpful in providing some clarification.

What was the decision I made? I was reading the church newsletter and they were calling for players for the soccer team. I knew it was an all age team and I thought to myself, I'd like to do that. So I thought about it, and I talked to my wife and children about it. It would cost me 5-6 hours per week, a couple of hundred dollars to register, and it would probably hurt, especially in the pre season training period. There was also the possibility that I would suffer serious injury. I might not even make the squad as there were going to be more players than required.

Eventually, and I'm talking days later, I joined the team. The first training session was 4 weeks ago, and I have been in pain everyday since. I finish training feeling a mixture and elation and exhaustion, and despite the agony, I look forward to going back for more. 

I'm loving being pushed physically by a coach who is harder on us than I ever would be on myself. I'm enjoying rediscovering my skills, (I was in retirement for 30 years) and the challenge of trying to find the speed I lost somewhere along the way, and the power. I like the camaraderie and the dynamic of the different personalities of my teammates. My body is screaming for relief but this is good for me as a whole person, so I ignore the pain and treat the muscle injuries, and go back for more punishment. When I'm straining for breath after a brutal series of running drills, when I am in the thick of the game, running, tackling and kicking, I forget my troubles. I have found another form of escape. I feel at peace. So far the decision to play soccer has proved to be a good one. Stay tuned.

When have you made a decision which has been painful, either emotionally or physically, but has turned out to be of great benefit to you?

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