Well, it has been practically summer here in SoCal this week... absolutely beautiful weather. Picking up Ali in the afternoon with her cheeks flushed from warm sun and a day's worth of fun... an exquisite moment of life. Truly. What an absolute JOY and GIFT she is. She keeps us in wonderment as we marvel at the world through her eyes. It is such a treat to go back in time and rediscover planet Earth through the eyes of a (almost) 5 year-old. Anything is possible. Imagination is infallible. Yesterday, a week ago, a month ago... all the same... GONE. Moved on. Not forgotten, but not stuck.
Ever notice how we get stuck in the past as adults? Not kids. No time for that. See, there isn't enough past to prove they are right or wrong about anything they face. They just take it in stride. Think about that. As adults, we form "truths" about all sorts of things. Then, when we bump into an event or circumstance that is incongruent with a particular "truth file" of ours, great dissonance occurs. Why? Because our truth file has had time to settle in and stick to us like a cheap band aid. You know the type. The type that even when you do pry it off, it leaves that "glue ring" on your arm forever? LOL. Yeah, THAT one.
Kids? Nah, they don't end up with the sticky truth ring. Not yet at least. They just move right on, charging into life at mach 3.
I had an experience this week that I've heard of for years. It's called "runner's high." It's when your brain releases the same pleasure chemicals from exercising as it does from other, well, pleasurable activities. I started strong in 2011 with the whole exercise thing, then fizzled out working out in a way that doesn't work for me (from home). Now that I am back in the gym, I'm back in gear, and it is GREAT. This week, I returned to my pre-Bella cardio program at the level of intensity that I used to max out at. That was a huge victory, as I had dropped below that capacity for close to 2 years. It's great to be back, but what was unique was the specific feeling of elation in my brain that I felt Tuesday morning and today after I finished my run. It was amazing. I was so peaceful, happy, calm. Wow, it was awesome.
The treadmill I run on has a flat screen TV stuck right in my face, but I turn it off. Instead, I wear a soccer jersey and look at the logo on my chest, then up at my sweaty mug, and see a soccer player. I used to be one, so I visualize myself in that kind of cardio shape again. What a great feeling. Also, at the top of each interval (After a 5 minute walk to the gym, 4 cycles of the sun salutation, and 1 minute at 5 mph, I do four intervals: 1 minute at 6 mph, 1 min. at 7, 1 min at 8, 1 min at 9 mph x 4 times with 1 min at 10 mph at the end for a peak push), I say to myself in a cadence with my stride, "3 million dollars by May twenty first!" over and over again for one minute into the monitor-turned-mirror.
On Tuesday, during my final 2 minutes (9 and 10 mph), I saw this guy... wasn't exactly me because the image was bouncing all over the place since it's mounted on the treadmill... running through time and space. Laser focused on a vision, he was charging through time moving closer and closer to this end-point. Like Terminator 2, he was undauntable in his stare and his stride. He would not stop. His confidence grew as life threw at him more and more obstacles (this was the experience when the treadmill went from 9 to 10 mph specifically).
How did it end? Life ran out of obstacles before he ran out of energy.
And then, that same guy showed up in my monitor this morning, and accomplished the same feat using about 80% of the energy he used on Tuesday.
My body is the only place my soul can live while here on earth. I feel like I am cleaning house, giving it a makeover, upgrading, cleansing, tightening loose screws, dusting off mantles internally. A clean house makes my wife happy, and a clean body is rapidly making my soul and my mind happy. Getting those two on the same wavelength... I'll take THAT victory ANY day.
Here it is. Thanks to two conversations I had with my mom and my friend Grant, I got it back for me this week. Thank you to the both of you. :-)
Goals aren't for what you make out of them once complete, they are for who you become along the way.
So it is with prayer.
For me, prayer isn't about what happens as a result, it is about who it allows me to become along the way. It was prayer that allowed me to be strong, clear, and free from fear when I walked into the hospital day after day after day after day. I handed God my fear every morning and let him hold it for me while I was in the hospital, because I promised myself I would not bring fear into Bella's room.
I can honestly say that I never did.
I remember fear knocking at the door of my heart during rounds on two occasions. It is the worst, coldest feeling in the world. If you ever saw, "The Matrix: Reloaded," Agent Smith stabs Neo with his hand, and slowly attempts to turn Neo into a copy of Agent Smith. For me, Agent Smith is a metaphor for fear. When it grips your heart, it emanates a cold, black tar of impossibility through your whole body. I shut the door on that feeling within seconds, only because it wanted to spread so quickly, that if I permitted it to linger for but a moment, it would have had me.
It wasn't me that made any of that possible, and it wasn't even God per se. It was my prayer to him that facilitated that morning release from fear.
Prayer is the bridge between God and me. It is the lifeline I throw to him, not the other way around.
Please don't misunderstand that. What I mean is that I have to pray to connect... God is ALWAYS there ready to catch the line. I just have to throw it to him. Maybe the visual works for you in the opposite manner. Maybe God is perched with life line in hand, winding it up like a lasso overhead, just waiting for you to say, "Throw it!" He's just waiting for your cue.
Through these past months, I've known that God has been there the whole time. I've been comforted by my faith that whenever I am ready to pray again, he is there ready to listen.
Well, I am ready to pray again.