How do we deal with the impossible in life?
Listen guys, I’m not overly religious. I try not to talk about it, because for those who are, sometimes are offended by the fact that I, in fact, am not. It’s taken me a long time to figure out what I personally believe. But isn’t that the beauty of faith? Learning for yourself what you believe to be true? I don’t push my beliefs on others, and I certainly don’t bemoan those who have a strong faith. One thing that’s taken years to realize is that, I am my own person, with my own life, and I can do what I see to be right for me…while at the same time allowing others to be the same way for themselves. No judgement. (It’s hard sometimes, too.)
Regardless of what I feel to be true with religion, I’m still a good person. That’s kind of my faith. Be good, do good, trust in yourself and every now and again, check in with God.
Where am I going with this? These past few months have been incredibly overwhelming. I have been trying so hard to do as many things for as many people at once, and at the same time, forgetting about myself. Where do I fit in with all of this? Really, I was kind of annoyed by myself, the fact that I am in fact human, and can really only be in one place at a time.
Wednesday morning I had a meeting with the new group fitness manager at the gym I’ve been at since I started teaching. I lost track of time, and when I looked at my phone, the time showed I was two minutes late to teach my class. I ran into the classroom, where twenty people were set up and waiting for me. I quickly got my stuff together, apologizing all the way, and when I went to hit play, I noticed an envelope on my bench.
I grabbed it, looked around to see who left it, but no one acknowledged it, so I put it in my bag, while saying, “Thank you.”
Yesterday was insane. I had a meeting, class to teach, Claire had to get her palate expander put in at the orthodontist, the girls had to nap, my mom had hip replacement surgery, the kids wanted to see Grammy post-op, I had to get Claire to a late tae kwon do class and then after she tested for her midterm with the purple belt.
When I got home, I looked in my bag and saw the envelope. I figured it was a holiday card or something from a member, and I was right, but it was more than that.
One of my regulars at the gym is a retired pastor who, from time to time, still preaches at his old church. He’s 73 years old, though you’d never know it. He takes BodyPump on Wednesday mornings with me, and I look forward to seeing his face every week. He’s so kind.
He gave me a Christmas card, along with a note thanking me for helping to keep him healthy at the age of 73. He included the typed copy of one of his sermons, that was inspired by taking BodyPump.
It was called: How do we deal with the impossible in life?
“There is something in my life that I cannot do; and yet I do it. There is something in my life that I would consider to be impossible for me to accomplish and yet I accomplish it.
Over the last number of months I have been doing an exercise program where I take a fourteen pound barbell and lift it 800 times in an hour. Imagine a five pound sack of potatoes, held in your one hand, another five pound sack of potatoes in the other, resting on your shoulders. That is roughly the equivalent. Now, you are going to lift it: sometimes with your legs, sometimes with your arms; sometimes standing up and lifting it as high above your head as you can reach, sometimes lying on your back and lifting it high into the air. And, you are going to do it 800 times in an hour.
I can’t do that! I am a man in my 70s! It’s impossible! And yet, for the last six months I have been doing it at a local exercise club, three times a week.
How is it that the impossible is possible? How is it that I’m doing what can’t be done?
Well, I am convinced that it is because I am not doing it on my own. No! I can’t do it. But, what I mean is, I can’t do it on my own. I am helped by several things:
First, I am in class. I am doing it along with a group of others. They are motivating; they are supportive. I am encouraged by the fact that they can do it, I can do it. They don’t let me down and I don’t let them down. We are in it together.
But, I am helped by something else: music is playing. The entire time there is a beat, a rhythm. Something changes when we are enveloped in music. It is inspiring; it is motivating.
But, there is another important ingredient. There is a leader. The leader gives instructions and encourages. The leader does not expect us to do anything that she herself would not do. In fact, the leader does it first. We are following the leader’s every move.
I am absolutely convinced I could not do this on my own. But, surrounded by these motivating people and things — I am able to do what I am convinced I cannot do. I am able to do what I otherwise would consider impossible.”
He went on to relate the impossible to his congregation’s lives. Health problems, money problems, family problems, being a caretaker for another person. The list is endless.
He then says we need to rely on each other. Rely on family, friends, God.
Last week, Jill, Claire’s cat, got out and didn’t come back in. For hours, she was missing and I was devastated. I searched all around, called for her, let the neighbors know so they could keep an eye out for her, everything. I sat at the window and cried.
I didn’t want the kids to see me so sad, so I went to the basement for a minute. I was sitting in the quiet of the room and I started to talk to the silence. I asked for help. I needed something to help me find this cat and bring her home.
I heard a little bird outside in the trees chirping loudly. She was darting from branch to branch, frantic. I remembered when I was a kid, and the same thing had happened, because our cat was sitting under the tree. What if Jill was, too?
I ran outside and went to where the bird was. The bird was looking at me, and almost pleading with me to solve her problem. I looked into the thick brush, and I saw Jill! But I couldn’t reach her.
Jill runs away from me, probably because I’m the one who had to grab her and force meds in her mouth, but she loves Claire. Answers to her call when she’s in the house. I ran up to the house, banged on the door and Claire knew, I had found Jill. We ran outside and she called for her, but we didn’t see her. The bird was still chirping wildly, so I forced myself through the jagger bush with thorns and saw a groundhog hole. I dropped some food outside of it, and out popped her head. I grabbed her and she clung to me as I carried her into the house.
Jill has shown zero interest with going outside since then. She’s also been far more affectionate to me.
I needed, in that moment, a reminder that even when I’m drowning, I’m not alone. I have to rely on others to help me get through some of the worst and stressful times. I may have been the one to find Jill, but it wasn’t done all on my own.
I will get through these stressful times, but I was thankful to have a reminder at such a perfect time.