Well the madness of last week has finally come to an end. I feel like I burst through a layer of constricting ice into a world of fresh air and relief, however short lived that may be. I continue to wind and course my way down the path laid out before me, with all of its uncertainty and fun adventures and who knows what else.
Between graduation from a master’s program, trips to and from Vegas in a 30 hour period, and a wedding for one of my best friends, I certainly had plenty of time to think and try to begin the digestion process of where I am at in life at the moment… my analogy for today relates to the wonder and power of nature and the constructive yet explosive smashing of hammers in our lives.
The Crash of Waves
I will admit, I am not a beach person; I would much rather be in the mountains. However, it is simply fascinating being at the beach watching the waves sweeping in with a thunderous roar, scraping and clinging to the sand only to be pulled back out into the blue depths as another round come pounding in. Nothing dwarfs someone or makes them feel as insignificant as the sheer magnitude of the ocean and all that it contains. It’s really quite dumbfounding… something so huge and so vast and yet the waves are constantly in sync, smashing the shore repeatedly, being driven forward or pulled backward, following their path carved out for them by the moon’s gravity infinitely, with no greater purpose than to rinse and repeat. The one critical difference between our lives and the natural path of the waves is that we actually make progress.
So often I feel like I’m just being slammed into the sandy shores in my life (aka my cubicle) without making progress. A brutal pummeling that just breaks my will and resolve… what I fail to see is that I’m really being thrown further up the shoreline away from where I once began. I’m sure many of you are tired of racing analogies, but I just can’t help myself. I’ve got five more weeks so you may as well suffer through with me! I may hammer out swimming, grind through bike rides, and drag my brick-like feet along runs, but it can often seem monotonous. Only when you reach the opportunity for racing do you really see all of the progress that you’ve made. What a great feeling to look back and see how far you’ve come.
Thunder of Hammers
I’m sure many of you have broken bones; it’s really not that uncommon. I’ve had the joy and privilege of shattering my nose… twice. I can’t really say that it’s a fun or enjoyable experience. Actually, quite the opposite. Swimming and trumpet playing become exponentially difficult when your breather just doesn’t work quite right. The nose crushing blows I experienced felt like someone just sledge hammered me in the side of the bloody face. Frankly, that’s what hammers are good at: smashing something with a force to disjoin it from its current position in order to move it to another.
Hammers are used for pounding, crushing, smashing, reforming and reshaping. Ironically, they are used in that purpose often for the improvement, reconstruction, or reforming of a tool or other object Think of the blacksmith’s hammer repeated blows directed at piping hot metal to reshape it from a useless hunk of metal to a useful item. We spend our lives getting pummeled, hammered, crushed, and smashed, but so often it’s for our own good even when we don’t realize it.
The strengthening and reinforcement is gradual. Layers of strength are slowly added to us as we go through the various experiences in life and cannot be noticed until you are able to step back and view the big picture. Of course it would be easiest to just have positive experiences, but that’s boring and does not promote growth. The heaviest, bone crushing hits that we experience so often end up creating the most positive changes in us. Changes that we would not normally sign up for or admit that we need, but are positive nonetheless.
Often those changes take the greatest toll on the mental or conscious side of our brains, but there are also experiences that obliterate our physical tissues.
Ironman is beckoning.
Ironman is calling.
Ironman is casting a long shadow with very little light at the end of the 10.5 hour tunnel. Then again, perhaps the crushing that I will endure will be the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. That idea is far more pleasant :-) Time presses on and so must we all!