Although I’ve never been able to stand Jane Fonda, or trite inarticulate cliches either, the concept of “no pain no gain” has quite a lot of merit to it. Anyone who’s ever tried to do something exceptionally well knows quite well, after only a very short time, that nothing comes easily. Whether it’s getting a job, playing a musical instrument, exercise or anything else of any significance whatsoever, all important things require strenuous effort. At the church I attend, St. Mary of the Isle in Long Beach, Father Brian Barr recently told us about the time his nephew graduated from junior high school. His other nephew, the graduate’s brother, asked him what the word “commencement” meant. Father Barr told him that it referred to finishing something. The nephew who was on the verge of finishing school told him that it really was about beginning something. That’s what all of life in general has always been about. Nothing can be begun without something else’s being given up. Life is a series of beginnings and endings. All of life is a series of obligations and opportunities, and to try to avoid that combination would be a false dichotomy.