I used to be a little hesitant to recite this line of the 13th Article of Faith…who of us would sign up to endure all things? It has only been recently that I have come to better understand this scripture and a small part of the effort involved in learning endurance.
When I run, I take various routes. One of my favorite paths also happens to be the hardest. Though it’s only 3 miles long, there are several steep hills which always leave me breathless by the time I crest them. In fact, on the days when I take this route I find myself fighting an internal struggle between stopping and just continuing to put one foot in front of the other. It’s usually on the way back, when I’m working my way up the last two hills and my lungs are on fire and my muscles are screaming for mercy that I have to put my head down and look ahead just a few steps because to look any further is overwhelming. It’s during those times when I’m having to muster up all traces of resolve left in me that I usually think about endurance. I have to remind myself that I will only learn to run harder, faster and longer by running courses that are challenging. I tell myself that it is the effort of moving in the midst of pain, obstacle or weakness that little by little builds my endurance and teaches me how to keep running no matter what. Each step I take on the way up the hill lends me momentum and even though I’ve run this way many times, when I make it to the top I’m always surprised at how far I’ve been able to come. And after my run, when I get home, the part that I remember most isn’t the ease with which I started the run or the relief I felt at it’s completion, but rather the strength I realized I had when it was hard to keep moving.