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Chaplain's Corner


Choosing the Pain

Choosing the Pain

Super Bowl Sunday is this coming weekend and spectators will watch two teams compete at a high level of performance. What are some of the attributes that got them there? Hard work, discipline, accountability, focus, and talent, all words familiar to Veterans and their families.

Nick Saban has an expression. He says, “You either live with the pain of discipline or the pain of disappointment.” Take that in for a moment. “You either live with the pain of discipline or the pain of disappointment.” That sentiment struck a chord with me. Clearly, these words echo around the practice fields and football facilities at Alabama, but do you think he could have been applying this to more than the game of football?

People recognize Nick Saban for many of his leadership and winning characteristics, and two that come up in interviews most by his players and coaching staff is his extreme focus and discipline. He does not allow outside clutter to get in the way of him doing his job. The Army defined discipline to me as, “doing the right thing even when no one was watching” which seems like as good of a definition as any other. I suspect we have all experienced the feeling of satisfaction when we have put in our best effort, regardless of the outcome. Even if being disciplined is hard or “painful” to do sometimes, it certainly comes with a reward.

I chose discipline with my eating and exercise this last summer and fall, and I lost 33lbs as a result. However, I was disappointed this morning when the scale read that I had gained 8 of those pounds back. Had I stayed disciplined and kept doing what I had been doing to lose the weight? No. With remorse and “disappointment”, I recognize that in this area of my life, over the holidays at least, I had chosen to slack off. Those Christmas cookies just taste so good!

I cannot help but ask myself, “What are the other areas of my life where I must choose to either live with the pain of discipline of the pain of disappointment?” What are the areas of your life where you have made this choice? How is that working out for you?

I would like to hear from you about this. Shoot me an email at if you are inclined to share.

I am looking forward to the game on Sunday. I have an appreciation for excellence in action, and even though neither team is a favorite of mine, I am sure to draw some inspiration from watching these players perform at the top of their game, wondering with which pain they have chosen to live… discipline or disappointment.

Your friend,


(Go Chiefs!)

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