Mr. Joe came home utterly elated a few weeks ago. He came in from his office and happily told me that he had ordered me a gift. I have learned to be a little conservative with my own elation when he is acting this way. I cautiously asked him what it was and he happily told me that he had ordered a really cool, retro looking red, Schwinn bicycle for me.
He showed me a picture. My reaction was a simple, “Wow!” which only excited him more. Right now just stop and consider that we are very simple people. It doesn’t take a lot to excite us.
We anticipated the arrival for 5 days and when Tuesday, the projected arrival day, rolled around I waited with bated breath. That afternoon Mr. Joe came through the door excitedly pushing a huge box with a big smile on his face.
He tore the box open and quickly assembled it.
So, now was the big moment. “Wow. Oh my goodness! Thank you!” was all I could think to say.
Me, being the Southerner that I am, I just stood there looking at it, thinking, “I guess I have to ride it, now….to show my appreciation?”
Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about this. It has been about 40 years since a rode a bike regularly. Bike riding kept me in really good shape during my teen years.
I did try to get on a simple bike about 7 years ago (it was a “man’s” bicycle with a male cross bar). I rode it for about 20 feet, while trying to stop it by applying the brake and trying to get my feet on the ground I lost my balance and fell off of it in the middle of the street. I decided at the time that I would never ride anything but a stationary bike again. Mr. Joe knew about this episode…
Well, back to the present, all I could do while Mr. Joe was smiling and watching was take it outside, get on it and good naturedly try to ride. I was sure that I would fall but surprisingly, I did not. I rode it to the end of the parking lot and back and by that time, was embarrassingly completely out of breath.
Now I have a new friend…
My new friend looks like this:
My friend and I have been spending time together every morning. I call her a she because I think she looks very girly. She makes exercise much more fun than walking and the workout is much more strenuous. At different times during the ride I can hear/feel my heart beating and I become very winded. I love the wind blowing through my hair as I ride.
Every day riding her is a little painful because I try to push myself a little harder and a little further each time.
I’ve learned some things in the past few months that I should have listened to and learned many years ago.
There is growth that comes from pain.
It has taken me a long time to learn the truth that comes with the above statement. I have heard it all of my life, but never really paid a lot of attention to it. I spent a large part of my life trying to avoid pain.
Even when I worked out, walked, tried to diet in the physical sense, if things got painful I would stop or pace myself to keep from feeling the intensity of the pain.
One thing that I learned early in the year during the 8 weeks of physical therapy while basically learning how to walk again was that in order to become physically stronger, coming to that painful point and pushing through the pain was part of the solution. At first it was excruciating to just stand for any amount of time. At first, I had to lean on the bathroom counter in order to stand on my feet while brushing my teeth. At first, I had to push through the pain of just standing, then walking with a walker, then with a cane and now on my own 2 feet.
Learning to walk again was painful but I had 2 choices. To walk again by pushing through the pain or to never walk again.
Riding my bike is painful but productive. I have to increase my heart rate to the point of hearing it and feeling it beating hard in order to strengthen my heart muscle. I have to feel those leg and butt muscles burning in order to strengthen them enough to go farther every time.
Do I stop at the pain or do I push through it in order to become stronger? Physical therapists are relentless. They force you to push through even though it hurts and you think you can’t do it. And if we are honest, we are glad that they made us do it.
Recovery is painful. Very painful. Mental, physical and/or spiritual recovery from whatever is killing us is painful.
There are lots of things that are painful. This simple truth can be applied to so many things in life.
Ending or pulling away from relationships with people who are pulling me down is painful.
Keeping my mouth shut when I want to gossip or spout off is painful.
Saying no to that extra greasy food, or those carbs or the sugar is painful because of the emotional dependency.
Saying no to that first sip of alcohol, if it leads to more than we can handle every time, is painful, especially if those around me are indulging.
Saying no to any drug of choice is painful.
But…through the pain comes the growth. And through the growth comes life that is more abundant than we could ever imagine.
And it’s after we push through the pain that we realize that God is with us and was with us through it all, cheering us on and strengthening us. We could have never have done it all alone.
Love and blessings to you!