As I sat there pedaling and gasping for breath, the ludicrousness of the situation struck me. It was 5:30 in the morning, I was awake and sitting on a stationary bike in a small dark room lit by black light with only a few other people and an instructor who was shouting directions over loud thumpy music. I am not an athlete. I am not even remotely athletic. It is slightly unnerving to feel my heart pound THAT hard in my chest. I am not a morning person and all this exercise HURTS. What am I THINKING?!
`So why', I asked myself as I sat there and spun away feeling my muscles loosen and warm up, 'am I here?'
I pondered for a few moments as I did a burst of stand ups and sit downs the answer to this question.
`I am here,' I told myself after some reflection and waaay too long of "an uphill climb with maximum resistance", `because I feel SO good when I am DONE'.
In fact, I acknowledged to myself, trying not to puke, I feel good the whole rest of the DAY when I have a hard core, nearly going to pass out workout in the morning. And if it's REALLY hard, then I even get a few bragging rights...but mostly, I am here because I feel so good, again, when it is all over.
As I sat there, trying to keep my motions fluid and steady and ignoring the serious protesting from my quads,, I realized that it was a metaphor for life.
Life is hard. Life is painful. Life can be like the alarm going off at 5 AM. But if you do it right, you'll feel so good when you are done.
The eternal rewards make up for the momentary pain. I believe our life here is but a blip on our eternal lifespan, but the things we do here will affect the rest of eternity. And as this thought struck me, I felt a warmth inside that wasn't necessarily provoked by the instructor shouting, "AAAAND GO!" as a new techno thumpy song started up.
Not to say that all life is hard. Not all exercise is a miserable experience either. There's no such thing as a perfect metaphor. I mean, with this particular one there doesn't seem to be much room for the Atonement.
Even if one has a personal trainer, it has to be YOU who lifts the weight or runs those miles. It's all YOU baby.
With life though, someone else has to intervene and take up your slack, after ALL you can do. Faith, works, choice, accountability...it's impossible to live a perfect life.
I thought about this some more.
I wake up at 5:00 and go to the gym because do not think about it. I just go. I just DO it. Of course I think about it the night before as I set my clothes aside and plan what I will be doing the next morning so I guess there is some definite forethought involved after all.
How much thought and planning do I put into life. I know where I am weak, where I have atrophied and where even some rot has set in. "I have a question about this...I have a question about that...and the typical Sunday School answer no longer suffices."
What do I do about my spiritual atrophy? What SHOULD I do about it? Actually, I'm not even allowed to ask that question if I know the answer. I mean, heck I know what I am supposed to do in general terms. How honestly am I even doing THOSE?
Much later in the day, I passed a most pleasant evening with my mom. (Not really changing the theme of this post, I really do have a point.) I told her about when I gave up the Battle On! comic strip. I had known for a few weeks it was something I was supposed to do...but I fought the impression, oh I fought it. It was after a conference attended by Sheri L. Dew that I finally acknowledged what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I had no idea WHY...I mean, what does he care if I do a comic strip or not, right?
As my friend and I were driving away, I asked her if there was ever anytime where she knew she was SUPPOSED to do something, but fought it.
"Of course," she replied, her eyes steady on the road. "Everyone does. What are you supposed to do?"
"I am..."I started. I didn't want to speak it, but darn it, I told myself, you are BRAVE. "I am...supposed to give up my comic strip."
As soon as I said it out loud the decision was made. Words, spoken words have power. Words MEAN things.
So if you are supposed to do something that you are supposed to do...that you KNOW is beyond yourself, something you are supposed to do, how long do you fight it? Does it ever get easier to let go and trust in a divine power?
Every time I have done so, I have been richly blessed...so why do I seem to fight my short term memory. How many lessons must I learn over and over again? I am relearning some lessons again at 31 that I thought I had learned remarkably well by 19.
Before I knew it, class was over and I stumbled out. I could feel where my hip flexors were inserting into my pelvis.
I stumbled out, grateful for a body that could do what was asked of it.
I stumbled out, pondering the work I needed to put into my soul.