So I have a new hobby.
And with stretching comes pain. The two are practically inseparable just like fifth grade boys and paintball. Chipotle’s burrito bowl with guacamole. Sufjan and unicorns.
Initially, the pain can be anywhere between a noticeable annoyance to an unbearable bullet to the muscles. But over time, it grows into an expectation and then a challenge and then perhaps even a mere moment in paradise.
As silly as it may sound, the physical pain related to stretching can be enjoyable in the sense that you are pushing through and beyond a barrier of some kind. And then there is the small hope that the next morning there will be less pain until you just go deeper and deeper into a stretch.
And this brings me to my point.
Sometimes and even more than sometimes, pain is good… and not just the muscle kind, but the heart kind too. Just like with stretching, pain can be an obstacle to push through, an internal battle worth fighting over. I believe somewhere deep in my gut that emotional tension can be a good thing. Awkward silence can be a good thing. Not knowing what to do with emotional tension and awkward silence can even be a good thing.
Yet over and over again, we wake up into a new day of opportunity, a new day of stimulation, a new day of Divine Appointment and yet we choose to fall so easily and almost effortlessly back into our small and predictable Corner of Comfort, choosing against stretching of any kind...
And in this process, we are actually experiencing more pain than we will ever know what to do with. We experience an invisible pain of sorts, a pain that exists in the majority of our population, a population of Silent Sufferers, all with emotions made of brick and ideas made of concrete. Just sticking to the routine because that’s all we know how to do. Of course, this is in hopes of avoiding the pain that we think we know so well.
We avoid stretching ourselves conversationally and experientially because we simply fear pain. We fear the unknown, the risk involved, and the overall soreness that can follow that initial ache. We will do anything in our power to fill in the gaps, to cushion our words, to stick to the script, all for…what??
Sometimes comfort can kill.
Sometimes routine can destroy.
And sometimes, a little pain is worth it.