Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tuesday Grace Letters- Finding Grace On The Floor At Crossfit

One Day Late- but, hea, who's counting?  I wrote this three weeks ago and thought it appropriate for this week's "Tuesday Grace Letters" over at Mundane Faithfulness.  You can read other soulful women, and the grace in their hard, here:  
Mundane Faithfulness

Many people approach me, and ask, "So how do you like Crossfit? Are you LOVING IT? " They presume that my answer will be pretty straightforward...its not...its just not that simple for me.
Every morning, that is a "crossfit day" for me, I wake up scared. I get in my car scared. I drive with tremors of anxiety racing through my veins. And the voice in my head, that's been playing over and over, for years, begins to taunt me. It tells me to turn around...It screams, in protest "YOU CAN NOT DO THIS TODAY!!!" Then, in a cruel whisper, it begs me to hear that I don't belong there...."look at are a failure. Go back home where you can be invisible." And I listen...and am tempted to obey that voice. That would be the easy road, in the moment....and it would feel better. And I woudn't have to be afraid. My comfort zone is such a safe place- but it has not served me well. And it has become a prison that I can no longer bear. So, with great trepidation, I cover the ears of my soul, refusing to be a part of my demon's chiding and scolding... I park the car, and walk in. 427 Washington Road. The sign looms in front of me- announcing what awaits in the warehouse just beyond the door. I see a coach...I see fit bodies...and the girl who feels like an outcast in her very own skin, wants to hide. or run. I go forward. The warm-up dares me to be better than I feel capable. It takes nearly all that I have. Then I face the WOD (workout of the day). I feel a flurry of panic. I wonder how I got there and why I'm bothering and who the heck do I think I am, anyway. But there's an eight year-old girl who begs to be remade. The kids laughed at her and made fun of her in gym class. Calling her names.... Breaking her heart into a million pieces... Leaving her ashamed and withdrawn. She spent years in the shelter of the sidelines, refusing to participate any longer- refusing to be seen. It seemed like the safe thing to do at the time. But three decades later, I'm tired of the fear. I'm weary from the shame. I need to conquer this for her. So I put my blinders on and attempt to complete the assigned exercises. And I feel like I'm going to die. And none of it seems possible.
Then, last Friday, a beautiful thing happened, in that box...that place where I feel so much terror. I was on my third of four sets of very difficult reps. I had to finish a 30 meter bear crawl, and then a whole other set, in order to be done. I was trailing everyone in class, who had already completed their workout. Seven feet into the crawl and I laid on the floor, in child's pose, thinking there was no way I could go on. But a woman, Joanna Tunnicliffe, whom I had just met, who's just a few years older, with an amazing body and strength that is awe-inspiring, laid on that floor with me. And grace covered me, as she spoke loving, encouraging things to me and that child, who she could not see, but who was there on the floor with us too. And slowly, we crawled, together, first to the end of the next tile, then to the cone, then back again and again until I had made it. That little eight year-old got healing she never expected. And for the first time in many many years, she was redeemed. Out of breath, covered in sweat, with the cheers of my classmates in the background, I knew, that no matter what, I needed every minute of that struggle, that day, to put pieces back together that had been broken for a long time. And to prove that those kids were liars. To say to that little girl that she was not a loser. And that I AM NOT A LOSER. And somehow, with crossfit, I am creating a new voice- one that speaks a truth that says that I am so brave...and so strong...and that I deserve another chance.

Do I like Crossfit? Heck no! It is brutal and scarey. But the brutal and the scarey aren't going to hold me hostage anymore. It may always meet me in that space...but I will acknowledge it...I will see the shame...and I will keep on, keeping on. And one day, I will lie on the floor, bringing grace to someone else who's hurting. And this story will be complete. And I, and that little girl, will be whole.
 — with Joanna Tunnicliffe and Kevin Beamon at CrossFit Mt. Lebanon.


About Me

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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