Sunday, November 28, 2010
I have been lost for close to three months. I have been wandering around in some sort of haze trying to grasp on to some sort of stability in this journey and it feels like I am missing it by about five seconds. Just about the time I think I’ve found it, “poof” it’s gone. It’s frustrating and depressing. It’s made me wonder if it’s all worth it. Maybe I should just go back to being unhealthy and undisciplined. I talked to a wise friend about this. She thought for a moment and said, “Thank God for everything. No matter how painful, or disheartening, thank Him. You are being taught a lesson.” So I did. As much as I felt like I was standing alone in a fog; every bad run I had, every painful workout every last stupid temptation to eat emotionally: I thanked Him, over and over. “I know there is a lesson here.”
Joan and I went to church early this morning. Our pastor talked about the coming of Christmas. He told us he had a wish for us and he wanted to share a Scripture passage. It was from the book Revelation. “…But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don’t have as much love as you used to. Think about where you have fallen from and then turn back and do as you did at first…” (Revelation 2:4-5)
Most often my notion of God is one who comforts and cuddles. That’s how He is supposed to teach me. He is not supposed to hit me over the head with a large piece of wood and stun me. Lesson learned.
I have fallen away, gradually cut corners and like the Scripture says I am not embracing my health (loving) as I did at first. I have lost three really valuable things: my focus, my balance and I am no longer centered. It is time to get back to work.
After church I took a long walk, about two miles, and regrouped. I uttered at least three or four prayers of thanks because I am starting to see why I was stagnant. When I got home I saw where my friend ANEPANALIPTI had written a blog this morning that cut to the core of my issues. While the jest of her blog talked about putting off dealing with thoughts and emotions, the lesson I walked away with was the part where she questioned the purpose of her running.
I sat back and asked myself that simple question, “Why do ya run, John?” It took me a few minutes to answer that question: I run for my health. End of discussion. Now…………… there are a lot of things that have gotten in the way of all that and sent me careening off course:
I do not run for time or distance. I’m slow, so what? I am running to make myself stronger and healthier and if I never shave another second off of my time I am still getting healthy and it does not diminish my value as a human being. I was getting caught up in comparing myself to other people and fighting against a standard I had no chance of reaching. Then my self-esteem hit the toilet. Focus gone!!!
I am not competing against, you, your friends or even myself. If it takes all day and all night to get it as long as I get results, does it matter? The very best run I ever had was in Nashville two weeks ago. It was a fall afternoon and the temperature was just right and I slugged along lost in the sunshine and it must have took me forever to run two miles but man, did I feel good. If you were running that day, you might have shot past me. I doubt I would have noticed. I need to get that feeling back.
I run to be healthy. I run to lose weight and when I put it in those terms, my focus started to sharpen. I may never run a half marathon, but who knows I might. It’s not important. I have been dreading my runs, putting them off and making excuses for the way I felt. I wasn’t running for me.
What is important is what the Scripture stated: “Get back to the start and do the things you were once doing.”
Between me and you, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong. I may run further and faster one day, but it is not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it because
I am worth it and I deserve it and my health is what matters.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Jen logged herself in. “It’s time,” she said. “We’re going up on the third floor today. ” The third floor is where the kinesis machines are. They are in a private room that doesn’t appear to be a torture chamber. It’s got nice wooden floors and four innocent looking pieces of equipment hanging off the wall with thin cables. They are labeled, “alpha,” “beta,” “delta,” and “gamma.” They might as well be called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I’ll give you the Clift Note’s version of my workout: It was the best and the worst workout I ever had in my life. One hour of agony and torture. I worked my entire body with each exercise.
We finished by running laps --- sort of. We ran the straight a ways and then I lunged the curves and corners. When we finished Jen said I looked like I wanted to hit her. I told her if I could raise me arms I just might!! As I sit here writing I ache all over but it’s the best ache I have ever had in my life. As we walked towards the door she stopped again. “That’s the roughest I’ve worked you and you did good.” I didn’t hit her, I thanked her. I had a hard time moving but I was on cloud nine. I never thought I would be grateful and thankful for pain. A year ago, well a year ago it wasn’t even on the radar.
We all have things to be thankful for, I have a list like everyone else.
I’m thankful for being able to hang in there for an hour. A year ago it wasn’t on the radar. A year ago I was uncomfortable, despondent and ready to give up. All my vitals were teetering on the edge of disaster. I felt alone and isolated and nothing fit. My self-esteem was in the basement and my attitude not far behind it. If I talked about everyone in my life who pushed, cajoled and loved me into the exercise regimen I am in now I’d be here all day.
I’m thankful for C25K. In May all I could do was walk and thought well that was quite enough, thank you very much. I ran my first 5K in September, my second in October and am scheduled for my third in December. I ran five miles two weeks ago and actually cried the last quarter mile I was so happy. (I know I’m such a girl, LOL) I am looking forward to running with some Spark friends real soon!!
I am thankful for early morning workouts, late evening workouts and running down a highway in West Virginia this summer where two deer jumped out of the woods and almost scared me straight into heaven.
I am thankful for the sixty four pounds I have left behind this year. With that wonderful loss has come a new confidence, a new sense of freedom and the ability to want to do more things in my life. My marriage, my friendships and all my relationships are stronger and healthier by what I’ve left behind.
I am thankful for my health. It is the vehicle that has made me a better John. I’m grateful for the pain and the indecision and the revelations about me that have come to the fore front so far in this journey.
I am thankful for you being my friend, encouraging me, challenging me and making it all so very real. I have become who I hang around with. You are as much a part of “Team John” as anyone else.
I used to roll my eyes when someone would say “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Today I know that those first few steps had a lot of sweat and tears involved in them. That’s what made it worth it all. That’s why I am so thankful.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
My nephew Jim called last night. He’s Joan’s oldest sister’s oldest child. His dad died about ten years ago or so and since then whenever he has “issues” he calls me. His dad and I were close and I don’t think there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss him. He died suddenly of heart attack. Jim is getting married for the first time at age forty. The hardest thing for me to swallow at age fifty seven is that I have a forty year old nephew. (I guess it could be worse. I do have a sixteen year old great niece, LOL.)
His bride to be has two children, both boys, both teenagers, from a previous marriage, and the biological dad is not in the picture because he chooses not to be. Predictably, both boys don’t care for Jim and the fact he is marrying mom and they are, to use the appropriate parlance of today’s vocabulary “acting out.” Jim is at a loss on how to handle all of this so he called me. As he stated a couple of times during the call he believes I am “wise.” Given that the last six weeks of my life have been one little failure after another I didn’t correct him with any false humility. Towards the end of our discussion Jim seemed a bit despondent. He was hoping to be perfect and it just wasn’t working out the way he thought it would.
“You’re so wise,” he started. “All this stuff comes so easy to you.”
I reminded him that the only way we gain any wisdom at all is through failure. He seemed incredulous. He had a hard time believing I had ever failed at anything or made the wrong decision. I told him I had; more times than I cared to think about and if I had any insight at all into anything it was because I failed so often in reaching out for that ever so elusive success. We wished each other a good evening and hung up. I sat in my chair and started thinking about the real wisdom of what I said. It HAS been a rough last few weeks but I am starting to see the horizon and the sun is shining. I made a few bad choices. (One involved an illicit relationship with a pan of brownies.)Every time I made a poor choice, I regrouped and went back to the process that has been successful for me in the past, but a bit wiser because of my failure.
I have hated the gym, my trainer and my running buddies for a little over a month now. I wondered why I couldn’t click my heels three times and be thin and svelte and all those other alien terms. I cussed and fussed and carried on….. This morning I sit here with a goofy grin. My granddaughter throws herself on the floor and pitches a fit, so to speak. I just did it in a much more sophisticated manner. I got mad at me, and as a wise Spark friend told me once “Nuthin’ changes till somethin’ changes.”
I owe a lot to many of you. There have been so many “I love you’s” and so many “hang in there’s,” that I felt encouraged to move on. I am back on track. I’m a bit bruised and bumped and certainly a bit wiser. There is a real blessing in failure. My trainer reminded me that in exercise terms a muscle never, ever gets stronger until it reaches the point of failure.
Just like me and you.
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