I visited my physiotherapist’s office yesterday morning, not entirely a surprise – with a running career that goes back 44 years to August 1978. “No pain, no gain” has pretty much occupied a huge piece of that journey. It seems I don’t/didn’t do moderation particularly well. But there has been a gradual change with the passage of decades because of my desire to stay running, evolving to something along the lines of “Okay, just a bit of pain, just let me keep running.”

Sometimes, life advice shows up for me in bumper stickers. And there it was at the physio’s office, lurking on a wall almost out of view. I leaned over and I read, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

I left the office and it later occurred to me that this slogan was hanging around inside my head. The reality is I was finding a wisdom there that went well beyond that treatment room and well beyond the physical sphere. We all face an array of internal challenges – emotional, intellectual and spiritual, and thoughts and feelings and perceptions and pasts and presents colliding with each other. And we live in the world with so many moving parts, not the least of which are the people and circumstances all around us and the shocks of the past two years.

And it’s true: some of our greatest changes come from the things that challenge us, but we grow and change from all the small challenges as well. So, maybe I can be thankful for those challenges. Ultimately, it is what allows me/us to live life in technicolour. I’m not sure I’d want to have it any other way.

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Allan