Joe paid heed to his doctor and followed a disciplined exercise regimen. The proximity of his home to the university campus made it easier for him to follow a daily routine that kept him physically fit. He ran along shady paths, climbed football stadium steps and walked the track which encircled the football field. Every day he would take a route different from the previous day just to keep it interesting. His “cool-down” process was an easy-paced walk on the running track that surrounded the football field.
One day as he walked around and around, he took note that the yard markers on the field went up from the goal line at one end of the field until he was adjacent to the 50-yard line. Then the numbers decreased until he arrived at the goal line. At first he thought, “As I walk I’m climbing from 10 to 20 to 30 and more. Once I reach 50, however, I’m descending back to zero. As I turn to the other side of the track the process resumes, but in the opposite direction. Such is life — ups and downs, climbing and descending. Never give up because even though the climb is followed by a descent, likewise a fall is followed by a rise.” Then he realized that were he on the field rather than the perimeter, his ups and downs would be a line headed straight for the goal line.
Joe realized that one should not become paralyzed by any current situation, whether good or bad, easy or difficult. As one continues one’s walk through life, one rises and falls. Success results by keeping an eye on the goal line at the end of the field.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
Once something is past it no longer exists. If you do not add any pain or insult, it will only last the limited time it actually exists. This is usually very short. Don’t add to it by later repeating to yourself, “How awful that was.” Realizing the suffering is temporary makes it much easier for you to tolerate insults and slights to your honor. (Rabbi Avraham Yellin, Erech Apayim, p. 98)