Thank goodness for sweat!
I was at indoor cycling class the other day – it is a fantastic and challenging workout taught by Janelle, a terrific instructor, who is both incredibly encouraging yet tough at the same time. In her class, you achieve more than you ever dreamed possible and, as a result, are motivated to train harder. One of her favorite expressions goes something like this: “if you have any pain in your joints, take care of your body … if you don’t, then it’s time to get to work!” She’s serious, but says it with a smile. Her classes are always full because people respect who she is and how she teaches, and flock to work out with her. Hopefully, this gives you a sense of what it’s like in her class.
So, it’s Friday morning and we’ve been working out, hard, for 40 minutes. I’m almost spent, and now it’s time for the hardest ‘climb’ of the day – a 6 minute, exceptionally steep hill climb with no breaks and the occasional extra ‘push.’ An instrumental remix of the chorus in “Life in a northern town” starts to play. Many of you know it … “Ah hey oh ma ma ma hey, Ah hey oh ma ma ma hey.” The steel drums are playing in this rendition – the performers are harmonizing the chorus beautifully, “ah hey oh ma ma hey …” Janelle is encouraging us – asking us to celebrate the fact we’re healthy enough to work hard like this; reminding us there are people who would exchange places with us in a heartbeat, if they could only be as healthy. Sweat is pouring off my face, I’m so in the moment. I hear the steel drums and the beautiful singing … and suddenly I’m transported in my mind to Africa – to Kenya. I hear the girls at St. Elizabeth Secondary School singing, celebrating they have a REAL chance at a better life, celebrating they already are in a position to make a difference in their community and with girls younger than they … celebrating life, celebrating hope! Tears of joy start running down my face “Ah hey oh ma ma ma heh. ” I am overcome and am rejoicing with the girls, rejoicing in their hope! Then I realize I’m back in indoor cycling class, my tears mixing with the sweat pouring down my face – we’re at the top of the climb – the class is over. I’ve just had the most surreal private moment of joy in the midst of 30 other people working out. Truthfully, I’m a bit embarrassed that I was crying in class (:-)) and am at once thankful for my sweat – no one knew.
I love these moments of pure joy – to reflect on the amazing opportunity we have to make a difference and be part of something wonderful in someone else’s life. It’s all so humbling, and so fantastic.
(By the end of the week, I’ll post more details on the project in Kenya – stay tuned, there’s some great news!)