I joined a gym over the weekend. That, in itself, is an entire blog post. Anyway, with 'walking season' a few months away and my slow morph into 'cubicle body' - to match my cubicle job - I got pretty desperate. A willing friend and a 'guest pass' later...I'm a member ;-)
The gym. A place I called 'home' from the time I was about 15 until...well...you know. Holes in places one should not have them. Oh how I loved the gym. I loved to push myself to the very limit in endurance and strength! One of my favorite things about college was the fact that athletic practices required me to be in the gym twice per day. Twice! And come on, the boys were cute! In fact, I ended up running into the cute boy who became my husband years later...in the gym!
The gym is different now. I can't just hop onto any ol' machine and do the exercises. Those that cause my spinal cord to move around too much, like the stair stepper, the arc trainer, and the elliptical? Cause my feet to go numb and my legs to tingle. But I feel quite blessed for the ability to walk in, perch upon a stationary bike, and ride. That's what I do. Ride...ride...ride...and I love it...
Last night, I felt rather energetic after my bike ride and decided to try out some arm strengthening machines. I adjusted everything - just like I remembered from years ago. I sat down and breathed deeply - just like I remembered from long ago. I did the exercises until I was completely exhausted - just like I remembered from long ago! I got up from the machine and everything started spinning. I grabbed onto the top of the seat to steady myself and allowed my body to settle down a bit. When my vision cleared, I found myself staring (totally didn't mean it!) directly at...'Old Me'?
'Old Me' was a young lady sporting a college softball t-shirt. Similar in build to mine circa the early 90's. Same hair color, same off-center pony tail I used to wear, lifting the same really heavy weights I used to lift. Yep - just like I remembered from long ago.
Old me. Sometimes I miss her.
I moved on to the next arm machine, set it up, grabbed onto the handles and...started to tear up? Crying? IN. THE. GYM? I wiped my face against my arms, one after the next, as I pulled up on the handles, but the tears just kept coming. Thoughts bombarded me. I must have replayed about 65 "remember when you used to be able to..."'s in my mind. I even caught the reflection of Old Me in the shiny wall. I knew I couldn't walk from the machine ALLLLLLLLLL the way across the gym floor to the bathroom, because clearly the bulk of the crowd would have noticed my red face and tears. So? I sat with my face against my arm and prayed to the Lord, asking that He help me dry those stupid tears. The song that played next on my i-Thingie, which my son fully stocked with all sorts of music, was called "Fill Me Up" by Jesus Culture.
I felt as if the Lord had an arm around me in that moment. My tears and sorrow for yesteryear stopped. Yes, things are different now. My abilities have changed. But...
But God has filled me up with an awareness of His love for me. He doesn't love me any less for my abilities or otherwise. He simply loves me. My kids don't love me any less for my abilities or otherwise. They simply love me. Same goes for my grandmother, my parents, and my dear husband. If I carry in 15 bags of groceries or none, it doesn't matter. If I'm able to work until I'm of retirement age or not, it doesn't matter. None of what I 'do'...or don't 'do'...matters.
I. AM. LOVED.
...and then I proceeded to get up from that machine and trip, because I was dizzy, catching myself against a really, really hard bar on the bottom of the seat.
Good thing I no longer need to be concerned about cute boys and whether or not they just saw that. No no...you see, I can come home to my own cute boy, tell him all about it, and be laughed at.
It's good to be loved...