I’m sore. My feet ache. My left achilles tendon is tender. My right calf has what feels like a ball of mangled muscle throbbing inside of it. Both upper portions of my legs are tired with a lot less stability than usual. My arms feel sore, too. In fact, my right arm is bruised. My back might be most painful of all, only because even the slightest movement seems to affect the rest of my body by sending pain signals throughout all regions of my body. But, despite all of this–or is it rather, due to all of this?–my mind feels wonderful. I feel truly alive.
I know what you are wondering, why do I feel so wonderful and alive? Excercise. I played basketball today. I ran, jumped, and sprinted up and down the court for an hour and some change. It’s not so much that I played basketball; although I do enjoy shooting hoops, any intense excercise can awaken the spirit. And it isn’t that I had my Saturday schedule wide open without any restraints holding me back and interfering with or putting undue stress on my life, although it is always nice to have a morning free from responsibility. Rather, it is this feeling that reminds me I am human and brittle. Ah, the mysterious and wonderful ways of pain. I love it. Believe me, I’m no masochist. (And although some of my siblings accuse me of being a sadist since I laugh hysterically whenever I see someone fall or trip or get accidentally clobbered in the chin, I honestly am not. See, it is not so much the fall or the clobbering that provides the uncontrollable hysteria, it is the reaction of the person–their look of embarrassment, a shout, the anger, or the coolly placed, “I’m okay, it’s cool.”) No, it’s not that I derive pleasure from my physical pain. Nor is it about the sympathy I receive from my wife either, though she is well aware of my pain since I am limping around the house and constantly grunting, moaning, and talking about this heel or that muscle. But bodily pain provides a reminder of my delicacy. It awakens me from the physical dullness where otherwise, with a more or less healthy body, I may tend to find myself.