Originally written, Friday, June 10, 2011
I had a revelation yesterday. Bear with me.
I had just started a new job at a company which builds log and timber frame buildings. My job is to stand on large timbers which have been sawed and use an adze to make them appear hand-carved. I stand all day long bent over, swinging the adze like a pick. Needless to say, it’s hard on the back and hands, but I’m getting used to it and feel pretty good. It’s all piece rate, so the more I complete, the larger my paycheck.
There are two young men who started the same time I did. Being young, they haven’t learned yet that the only way to get anything done is to get into it. They like to talk, look at their blisters, complain about their aching hands, etc. Good fellows, but they’re probably working for a lot less than minimum wage.
Yesterday, I stopped for a minute and watched them. I thought about going over to tell them that they needed to work through their pain until they could ignore it. Immediately the thought came to me about Caleb, who was as strong when he was 80 as he was when he was 40, and I understood that one of the reasons for this was that Caleb had learned to work through his pain. After a few minutes, I realized that my back and hands no longer hurt and I worked pain-free for the rest of the day.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and can apply it to an emotional or spiritual sense as well. People have to learn to work through their emotional pain, their spiritual pain in order to be set free from it. It’s hard, oh yes, it’s hard, and many people shrink from it because it hurts so much, but to become like Jesus, it is absolutely necessary. I have learned something and will never let go of it. It has already transformed the way I think. I will never be the same again.
(Ed. note.) Approximately one year later. I am working as crew boss on a large custom house construction. It has been hot, hot, hot, and everyone on the job is glad when the end of the day arrives. I am the oldest man on the job, but I can easily keep up with the younger men and sometimes surpass them when durability is counted. Why? It might be that I have learned to be tough, to hang in there when the going is hard, and to work through the difficult times. Sometimes mental toughness far outweighs physical capability.