Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Into the Wind

For today's training ride I had a lot on my mind.  A Greek Chorus had settled into my thoughts like fog and I spent the better part of  yesterday cutting through one mess after another.  
       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.



Annemieke said...

Dear Jody,

Another awesome blog, talking abbout something we can all relate to. As I am literally learning to ride into the wind again, I short of mastered the other way over the last 11 years. Most of the time I know how to do it right, but sometimes I still chose the wrong gear or can't maintain the right cadenze. I will keep Thomas in my prayers and hope he will master the art quickly and will find his life has become richer because of it. Thank you for sharing and your insight. Love, Annemieke

Debbie said...

Beautiful post my dear friend! It has given me much to ponder and mostly it gives me a feeling if hope, and we know how powerful a feeling that is.
Thank you, Love, Deb

Pateeta said...

Thank you for such an uplifting post. Today I had my last chemo treatment (2nd time around), but I am not finished yet until the fat lady sings with the PET scan and blood work next month.

However, TOMORROW I begin the process of starting life without chemo. It's looking very bright.
Blessings to you, and prayers for Thomas.

Marcia Banta said...

Lovely...want you you know how timely this was. I spent that last two days in er/hospital with my Mom and altough she is home tonight I have been pretty "mopey" about her deteriorating condition physically, but especially mentally. Putting a finger on the feeling and knowing it is shared was very comforting - with hope at the core. Thank You.
PS...is "mopey" a word - small sad but wry smile?

Jody said...

You all are terrific, and I'm always grateful to see what different friends take away from each post. I'm so impressed with how we can never have enough hope.

Marcia, "mopey" is a word that completely works for me:) I'm so sorry to read about your Mom. We'll keep you in our prayers.

Pateeta -- Life without chemo! You rock, sister!

All: I heard from Thomas's mom. He is on his second day of chemo and that is going well...but he misses his life, his friends. Your prayers for him are so deeply appreciated.

Love and blessings to you all,

Running the race said...

Jody, I as I read your blog I was right there with you encountering something you know you can tackle if you change your strategy. I am now onto the challenge of AI and didn't realize how it had gotten to me. After I read the side effects I was ready to just say "Well I am not going to do that so let the course take me where ever it may." One of my Blog Sisters suggested that maybe I could think of this as adding life insted of taking away. So I was on my bike, hit the wind gust yet another time, almost said forget it but changed my direction. Going to do Acupuncture to help counter potential side effects.
Blessings Jody...Luann