Today was awesome. I was the swim portion of a relay team for a triathlon. We were raising awareness and funds for Baark! Bahamas, an organization that has become dear to my heart here in Nassau. If by the way you would like to contribute to our cause my fundraising site is accepting donations up until the end of the week. Please click here to find out how easy it is to donate. see Baark! swim, bike and run. Being a part of a team was truly incredible and I will be sure to blog about that at some point soon but right now I want to reflect on something else I noticed today.
Pushing your body to the limit hurts, whether you are swimming, running or biking your body and quite often your mind tries to put an end to the pain and tells you to quit. It hurts to push hard but that is what is required in races like triathlons, they are build to test your limits and bring you to exhaustion. Most of the athletes in the triathlon had some serious "I hurt" faces going on. You can see this on people's faces, in their grimaces, furrowed brows and their intense stare towards the finish line.
Here is the cool part, no hurting face was able to remain the same as they rounded a corner where crowds were waiting to cheer them towards the finish line. As the swimmer emerges from the ocean and runs to the transition, they cannot help put smile when they hear someone in the crowd sandwich their name between the two words of Go, Go! No biker could remain stoically serious while the hands of those cheering applauded louder and louder as they rode near. No runner could keep the grimace on their face as they saw the line up of spectators wildly waving them on towards towards the finish line.
Hurt, no matter how intense softens when met head on with encouragement, love and support of those around them. For a moment, the runners, swimmers and bikers experienced a lapse of pain, they momentarily did not let the pain dominate. For a moment they forgot the hurt. Athletes need a break in the pain to mentally get through the course, they need to stop focusing on the hurt and focus on the job at hand, the spectators can have a huge role in helping create this momentary lapse of pain.
In my real life, I work as a marriage and family therapist, where I am faced head on with many real hurting faces. These faces are real, as is the the hurt but unlike a triathlon it is not something they entered into purposely or usually willingly. My job is far more than a cheer-leading job but if I failed to bring encouragement, and hope I would fail as a therapist and even worse fail at supporting those who are hurting. Sometimes my job involves helping my client find that momentary lapse of pain, so they might breath more deeply and refocus on the task at hand.
In my daily life,when I am not running around posing as a super athlete, I am a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, and colleague I am also faced at times with hurting faces. This world is imperfect and people get hurt. I am not so superficial to believe that just encouraging people on will fix the hurt. But I am keenly aware that calling out to someone with kind words, and encouraging actions means a lot more to that hurting person than we could ever realize. I have been that hurting person before and it was through encouragement of the people around that I was able to breathe through the hurt and refocus on the task at hand.
Life hurts, we need momentary lapses of pain. People are often conduits for these moments and I want to thank all those who have ever cheered me on, encouraged me or allowed me to breathe.
A note for those who know I have even deeper beliefs than just in the human race. God, the one who created you, is the One who can truly give you that much needed lapse in pain. He does not always choose to fix it, but He will always choose (whether you are aware or not) to swim, bike or run beside you. He has you, He can and will encourage you far more than any super-fan can. God is bigger than the pain you are experiencing, let Him speak into your life so you can continue the path He has created for you.