After multiple decades of pushing myself, at times beyond the limit, there are a few lessons that continue to linger as painful reminders. Near the top of the reminder list is the reality that as hard as I push myself, as painful and on the edge of collapse as it might seem, there is something within me that can continue, if only for a bit longer.
I listened to conversation where someone was complaining, exhaustion and weakness being the theme of the day. If one paraphrased what he was saying it would echo a psalm; “I’m weak from hunger and can hardly stand up, my body a rack of skin and bones.” (Psalm 109.24)
There was part of my that wanted to be sympathetic while another part deep within me silently cried out, “really?” Your weight tells me otherwise. The comfort of your demeanor when you are not talking about yourself speaks volumes. It is as if the mind has given up and the words echo the lack of resolve and commitment.
The exchange shifted into a second discussion on the alternatives available that compromised the intensity and effort required so that things could be easier for everyone. I have no idea where the aspirations and goals had gone. There was no acknowledgement of commitment, expectations, or success. Everything was pivoting on the degree of effort and difficulty seen in the present.
Even as the voices in my head grew louder, I realized how often the scene repeated itself in my life as well as many others. As we talked on and into the night, I was not sure if I had any grounds to stand on. There were endless examples where the results and effort fell short of the stated aspirations.
My takeaway for myself is threefold.
In one’s acceptance of reality, one is not required to punish one’s self. There is enough pain in the world without adding self-inflicted pain.
We can always learn, from the bad and in the good.
Yesterday less than successful action is addressed when we step towards our goals.