Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Into the Wind
In the last ten days I've attended two funerals, (leukemia), was shocked with the sudden diagnosis (high risk lymphoma) of my nephew's 13-year old friend, was disappointed when I didn't receive a fellowship for a conference I wanted to attend, gladdened when another pro I admire contacted me, and traveled to Milwaukee with DH where his extended family met to celebrate a graduation. There, I danced with our six-month old grand-nephew, who I met for the first time. Awesome.
I was thinking about all these things -- and especially Thomas, the 13-yr old with lymphoma, who starts chemo today -- when I took off. My regular training route is some 26 miles. The route manages to encompass each and every hill we have in The Woodlands and just as many stop signs and stop lights. The heat was already well over 85 degrees, the humidity was up and for the first part of the ride, the wind was at my back. A strong wind.
Then it dawned on my me that at the halfway point I'd be turning back and into the wind. Images of what that's like, with the sun beating down on my head and radiating up from the pavement, dust flying into my eyes and sticking in a coating of sweat and sunscreen, and my energy draining, started to slow me down. I'd made the mistake of doing a few hill intervals then sipped the new, low calorie Gatorade. Suddenly the artificial sweeteners and intense effort combined made me gag. I spit the Gatorade out, lightened my gears and lightened up. I decided to change my tune. Completely. I'll often use a mantra while cycling and today's was this: Into the Wind. Focus. Focus. Focus. I kept that rhythm up until the negative thoughts dissipated. I didn't deny them, or push them away. I remembered that difficulty can only be encountered once you admit it exists.
Wind is wind, nothing more, nothing less. I'd learned to cycle with it a few years ago so it no longer is a matter of not being able to complete a ride. Now it's about cycling with intelligence. But learning to cycle into the wind takes time, and patience. Sometimes it's discouraging to lighten the gear, up the spin, and drop the power intensity, and up your cadence. But you do, one spin after the next.
And that's when I realized -- since I'd dedicated my ride to Thomas -- that my upset was about Thomas. He's headed into the wind now. Every person who's diagnosed with cancer, or experienced loss from grief, has a time when they they know their moment is now. Headlong and face first. That's when it's our turn to remind them that faith is stunning. And that God will reveal something beautiful that you've never realized before.