There is a personal trainer who teaches classes at the Y who has become the voice in my head during long runs and solo lifting sessions. She says things like “this is only 4% of your day” or “don’t quit until ‘yer done” and “does anyone want to get stronger today?”
She also says “the things you hate the most are probably the things you need the most.” For me it’s lunges. (WHY oh WHY when we do so MANY of them are they still so hard?!)
When I do certain exercises and I hate them, it is probably because it is hard to do and it is revealing a weak spot.
Of course my friend means exercise but as I have walked next to friends through weeks of suffering it has come to mean more than just I may have weak muscles.
Some of these challenges we have faced have shown me areas of my life where I need to change.
When Isaac died, my heart broke on sometimes an hourly basis. I found the towel at the Y become a tissue as well as a sweat wiper. I would cry watching movies (Anne of Green Gables scene when they buried Matthew turned into an sob fest), lose my breath when I would remember the chain of events of April 21 or simply cry with my friends as we continue to grieve together.
It didn’t completely soften my heart (golly if this didn’t what will?) towards my children and I have not turned into Mary Poppins, BUT…
I find I am less picky. I care less about how much they eat (I used to be a protein and veggie pusher at the cost of tears and even gagging sometimes – shame on me) or even what they eat (sure, have another piece of whatever that gooey candy is from the birthday party). I care less about the mess, even in the boys’ drawers. Underwear inside out? Mismatched socks? Mismatched PJ’s? No longer on the top of my complaint list. (Ok it does sometimes still drive me slightly crazy but that’s just normal mom-mode at bedtime right!?)
We celebrate more. Today XS graduated from preschool. (He told me beforehand that he was “nervous.” Bless him.) But we celebrated real good with juice, Chinese noodles at lunch and noodles at dinner again.
I never wanted 3 kids. Had the tubal after Elam’s birth since it was a c-section and I was hanging open already. We were sure we didn’t want or need another kid. 1-1 defense seemed best for our family. Besides, when do people ever win a trip for 5 to Disneyworld?
But oh how grateful we are for this third child to make life uncomfortable – budget, time, diapers for overnights, lover of Chinese noodles so that I always have to have at least one dish in the fridge that’s just for this boy – mostly silly irritations but every once in a while we think what the what?
We thought we had it all together before 3 kids… ha! We thought we had a handle on college fund planning, child care and one pink bedroom and one blue one. Little did we know.
Thank God He knew we needed Him.
I find I am angry less. When I remind my kids to do something (even for the 10th time) I remind them, they apologize and we move on. When I find they have spilled, even if it IS pork grease from the freshly grilled loin Elam proudly helped Dad bring in from the deck… on the freshly cleaned carpets. (WHO INSTALLS WHITE CARPET!?)
I find I kiss the boys while they sleep. I chat with Calista more during bedtime and let her keep chatting. I pray more while I run (although that may be because I am training for a marathon and simply have more time TO pray). Brian and I pray more together before bed. Brian and I also argue so much less than a year ago we should write a book about it.
This spring has shown me so many of my weak spots! I could keep writing about how I find it hard to keep my mouth shut, harder to be nice sometimes and really hard to not try to fix everyone’s problems in the next 4 minutes.
And I’m sure this next week and its challenges of a friend facing a tough season ahead, Brian being gone for the last 4 days of school, grieving the end of a school year with my 8-year old and the busy weekend will show me more of the weak spots.
But as I do one more lunge, one more mile, one more day, I am also finding God gives me just what I need: faith for one more. Joy for one more. Energy for one more. Strength for one more.
And then I believe I can do one more mile, one more race, one more phone call and one more blog that might mean something.