Saturday, June 22, 2013
Let me begin by stating that no, I did not inherit a pair of skates. Rather, I am speaking of the will that lives inside of me. That will keeps me going. It's what makes me return to work each day to a challenging and demanding management job. It's what helped me to make the choices that led to my goal weight -- the first time. It's what made me pick myself back up 3 years later to repeat it once again.
And it's also what enabled me at 52 yrs old to drive myself to the ice rink and put on a pair of rental skates. It further propelled me onto the ice where half a dozen professionals were practicing. It's what made me clunk around the perimeters of the rink amid those agile, twirling skaters as they practiced performance routines while hockey players sped between us. It's what made me dare to come back again and again... to work a weekend day so I can practice during the week... and lastly to buy myself a pair of skates on my 53rd birthday.
When I put them and wore them out to the ice for the first time yesterday... I just stood there.... I literally couldn't move... could not maneuver those skates to go forward a single inch. Wondering if this was all in vain, an older man skated up to me... he had spoken to me on a couple of other occasions and was the instigator for my buying the skates as soon as I did (insisting I would never do very well in the rentals). Talking with him loosened me up a bit and I tried to push off... he left me to work it out. I grabbed a hold of the rail and shoved off -- never clunked so loud or slow before and felt every extra pound of my extra weight. Having made it around twice at the slowest speed in history, I was nearly ready to give up and return the skates.
The gentleman approached me again -- I explained the new problem. (The skates were giving me incredible pain -- their stiffness didn't help). Anyway, he suggested I talk to another skater there. Having introduced us, he left me to speak with her; I was encouraged to give it another round. Things seemed a tad bit better. After another lap, she asked my name and gave me some pointers. In 5 minutes, she helped me overcome an issue I had been having for weeks. She let me be and I stated making my rounds a little faster. Another skater approached and marveled at my progress in 10 minutes.
You know, I will probably never amount to much of a skater. And that's okay as it is not my goal to wow the world. You see, I am happy if I can just glide around on the ice and feel graceful for those few moments. I could have just sat at home but...
But is that really living? would I be content? I have lost so very much and have so little left. One thing I do still possess is life. I AM alive. I will not live a life regretting that which I never gave a chance. I may not accomplish everything I set out to but I will rest in knowing I tried those things which interest and excite me.
So I will keep showing up for that job. I will continue visiting the rink. I will get better at making the right choices for me. Those things will include exercise, food, rest and a bit of frivolity. Yes! that means a $150 pair of ice skates on a 109° day in the Arizona desert because health is not just about my body and its ideal weight. It's about what's in my heart and mind and soul... what I do for myself... it's also about what I project to the world... and what I share or give to others.
My will made me try and the encouragement of others fueled me on. Encouragement is not a little thing and I take no small delight in doing so for others. More on that in a moment...
This month is not just that of my birthday... it is also the anniversary of my mother's passing. In these few years that have gone by, I have mourned not only her loss but lamented those things she still had in her heart to do. I know that she accomplished much... loving culture and people, there were many, many times she brought those two together. She had this need to use culture to enrich other people's lives but she also entered their lives in numerous other ways: feeding, praying, caring, visiting, inviting, including, laughing, dancing, singing... Interestingly, a close friend of hers shared some wonderful, healing words about her life to me. He said, "Your mother's life was a success -- a complete success." Those words have soothed me many a time.
Now back to encouragement, “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” ~William Barclay