There are times in our lives that we might actually feel our hearts break. I can think of a few times in my life. There are days that we know will change the direction of our lives. Today was a day like that for a very dear friend. And my heart is breaking with hers.
Last night I left church filled to the brim…like whatever this week dealt out, I would be just fine…our God is stronger…I sang it…I believed it…I still believe it. But my heart is heavy for a friend who is going through a tremendous loss. And the fact that I can’t find the words to comfort her…it killed me. I couldn’t ‘fix’ it.
And that is part of this journey too. Learning how to deal with days like this, the ones that sneak up on me and leave me asking the question, “Why, God?” It’s days like this that remind me that I am not the one to ‘fix’ it and I am not the one in control. The only thing I have control of is the choices I make once the emotions get going. Will I stick to my journey when my heart is breaking for a friend?
The answer today is yes.
Several years ago, I remember having a conversation with my brother about pain tolerance. He told me I had a low tolerance for pain and boy, was I offended. Now that I think back at it…being offended kind of proved his point!
I sit here with some aches and pains from yesterday’s race. Funny, just like in life, it seems that the aches and pains in your muscles sometimes come way after the very thing that caused the pain. And just like in life, you can manage the pain in a healthy way, or run from the pain by not engaging in the thing that caused it.
Part of this journey is to learn how to tolerate the pain in my life in a healthy way. Not to pretend it’s not there. Not to stop doing the things that may have caused it (if the things that caused it are good for me like exercise). And definitely not to pop a pill (or in my case, eat a burger,) to mask that the pain exists.
There are going to be aches and pains as I push my body past the point its use to. There’s going to be aches and pains when I don’t get to eat what everyone else is eating or what I feel like eating because I’ve had a bad day. But the more that I learn to manage that pain, and keep pressing on, the stronger I feel that I will be able to manage the next ache thrown my way.
Today I watched the Breeder’s Cup. Horse racing is really big in my family and I practically grew up at a racetrack. This year the race’s spotlight was a mare named Zenyatta. What makes Zenyatta interesting is there’s a story behind her…a journey, if you will.
Zenyatta was originally purchased for a low price because she was sick. So she was sick and female; not a great combination for a race horse! However, late in her career, Zenyatta started breaking ALL the records. She was going into today’s race, her 20th and last race, undefeated.
Everyone watched as she ‘danced’ into her stable (her signature, she does this lil’ kick with her hoof that makes it look like she’s dancing). I think everyone was anticipating the Hollywood ending. The race began and Zenyatta was dead last for most of it. But, another one of her signatures, she hangs out in the back and then destroys the field in the last stretch. This race was no different. As they turned into the last stretch, I thought there was no way she would catch up. But she did…it was amazing to watch. In the last 200 yards, she caught the front runner only to lose by half a head.
Watching the jockey interviewed after was heartbreaking. He was devastated. My dad swears that these horses know when they lose. I don’t know if I believe that, but I initially felt a little heartbroken for the girl who would retire with a loss.
Yet, I started thinking about the conversation I had with my trainer Jada earlier today. We were discussing this past first week of my program, and she reminded me to celebrate the victories each day. Why, after winning 19 races, should this horse only be remembered for the one she lost? I tend to do the same thing when it comes to my life: focus on the one defeat when there are several victories surrounding it.
So my goal for this week is to remember Zenyatta. The horse whose career became legendary later in life, who defeated many of the odds placed against her, and who did it all with a lil’ pep to her step. I’m going to challenge myself to remember and celebrate the victories each day.