There come times when it seems like the speed of progress in life is turned up a few notches. We face many new horizons. The road gets steeper, exposing new valleys and new peaks. These are times when we are pushed out of autopilot mode and forced to be a bit more conscious of our pace and direction. We can stroll down the road, or we can run it. We can take the road down or the road up. The mountains seem exciting when viewed from far away. But when it comes time for making the ascent, the glory seems to vanish. Aching muscles. Bloody bruises. Burning lungs. Sweat and dirt.

We start to realize that the climb itself is not as glorious as we imagined.

We want the glory of having achieved growth and progress without the pain that comes with it. I am finding this in myself. Somehow I have bought into the idea that progress should be a smooth ride. I want to be able to kick back, and watch the country side stream by as I enjoy the ride forward. Life in our culture is full of various ways to anesthetize ourselves to the realities of life. We entertain ourselves to death. We think we can just “unfriend” the challenging people and scroll past the unpleasant pictures. We destroy our capacity to reason and therefore block off even the ability to know that there are challenges to face. We can change our jobs, change our spouses, even our genders. We can leave a negative review if the service didn’t meet our expectations.

And yet, that is not how the real world works.

We cannot live life expecting progress without pain. Not only is the road to buried treasure is itself laden with trails and dangers. Even when we get to the treasure itself, we discover that hauling it away is quite a chore in and of itself. In every stage of life, if we ever are seeking progress, we must do so in full expectation of the weight that comes with it. We cannot have growth without growth pains. The seed must die before it sprouts a leaf. Such is the unavoidable nature of the fallen world in which we live

We read the stories of the ones who made history and we envision them in the glory of their accomplishments. And yet history’s witness is clear that under the decorations, they are often scarred and bruised. Often times that is what makes the difference between the ones who did and the ones who didn’t – the willingness to carry the weight, to whether the storm, to grow up and take the pain.