Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
I've come to the conclusion that as an athlete grows tougher in the gym (or on the road or trail or pool or mountain) he or she grows a heart that becomes softer. One that breaks for others. I know it because I've felt it and seen it time and again.
I can't really write the rest of this post without telling you a story. So if you're an athlete that believes in both badassery and brave, soft hearts, please read on.
Coming up on three years ago, I opened a little gym. We started small, but, like gremlins, as I've poured water on the people who come through the door, they've quickly multiplied.
So, as my sweaty gremlins and I began to pick up barbells and learn to climb and jump together, we also began to fall in love with one another.
Our hearts began to break for each others' pain. And as more and more of us opened up about our personal demons and life experiences, something else happened.
Through a series of providential events, we discovered that God intended for us to be more then just a gym. And not only had our hearts begun beating for each other, but for broken people outside of our little Tribe.
We began saying, "Yes." And one of those yesses was to my dear friend, David. He and his two buddies had decided to have a deadlft party to raise money for their friends and I knew in an instant that Tribe was to be involved.
There is a need for Veterans suffering with PTSD.
I can type those words, and you can read them, but unless we really sit with them, it means nothing.
Men and women who've seen things I can't even dream of in my worst nightmares are coming home absolutely devastated on the inside. They are quiet about it. They don't know what to say or feel and they don't know how to articulate that they need help. We, on the other side, who've not seen such things, have begun to say, "We care. We don't know how to help you but we want to try. We want to love you and God knows we want to lift with you, if you'll have us."
I don't know. Maybe that sounds dumb. But I freaking CARE. And when I feel like shit, turning up the music and grinding it out with a barbell does something to me.
It reminds me that, just for today, I'm gonna be okay.
And that's exactly what happened last night. One by one, each of us picked up a really heavy bar. And for the moment that it moved, ever so slowly, the only thing I knew is that it was all okay.
At this point in the story, I should probably mention that I had a meniscectomy 18 days ago and I had NO business deadlifting last night.
And the next things I'm going to say are reckless and stupid. And I don't recommend them.
Deadlifting is my favorite thing to do in the gym. And there I was hosting a deadlift event for people I care about more than you know. And there was not one chance in hell I wasn't gonna pick up that bar.
And as the weight on the bar increased, my body did something interesting. It figured out how to deal with my brokenness, and despite the fact that my left leg was basically not working, I pulled double my body weight.
As that 250 lbs came up off the ground, I found me again.
Broken. Hurting. A thousand voices in my head saying a thousand different things..... but at the top of the lift I silenced them all and I won.
That is what happens to people who do things they shouldn't be able to do. And I'm beginning to believe that it can and will save lives.
My friends and I move weight. That makes us love and care. And that love, when translated into action, raises awareness and money for people to come and somehow, some way, experience the same thing.
Gyms from all across our city gathered. And at some point, as chalk and music floated in the air, walls came down....
And hope rose to the top.
And I've decided....
You ain't seen nothin' yet.