This is a resurrection, of sorts.
How fitting that a week and a half from the day people around the world gather to sunrise services to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection, that I am actually able to sit at my computer and resurrect this blog.
To say that the last few months have been a time of change is quite the understatement. Basically every area of my life underwent a tremendous resurrection:
- I went back to being a plant-based eater after a few years noshing on chicken and fish and started buying tofu and nutritional yeast in bulk.
- I abandoned my powerlifting flats for the Olympic lifting (or just “weightlifting”) lifters, and as a result, went back to being coached by one of the most awesomest (yeah, I know, grammar rules, but *shrug*) trainers around.
- I got to teach my first love–poetry–and the first Shakespeare play that actually made me appreciate the Bard–Othello–to my AP English class.
- I attempted potty-training our little guy using the same techniques we used on our now seven-year-old girl. Lets just say the boy is still in pull-ups.
- In two days our family is traveling to Los Angeles, and of course, visiting the Happiest Place on Earth, the same park where many of my dear elementary school memories of princesses and magical talking animals were made.
Maybe number five isn’t really a resurrection, but it surely is something I am looking forward too…maybe more than the kiddos. 😉
Anyhow, back to the topic at hand. This resurrection. While I think of Jesus raising from the grave as an event full of hope, I look at my own list of resurrection acts and think, “Wow. Even though the pay off in the end is great, those four resurrection deals were initially really time consuming. And stressful. And hard.”
True enough. Because in order to fully come alive again, to find that true faith and freedom, there has to be adversity at some point. Maybe you agree, maybe not, but it’s that testing, that perseverance, that God uses to refine and make a seemingly overwhelming situation that much more bearable. And not just bearable, but a situation that one can truly grow and blossom from. Case(s) in point:
Changing my simple turkey sandwich/baked chicken/ahi poke diet took an obscene amount of planning. I mean, I didn’t want to be deficient in any macro or micro nutrient, so I actually spent hours scouring medical research to see what supplements I needed and so forth. But in the process of it all, I realized that going back to being plant-based fell in line with much of my ethical beliefs relating to animals, and that doing my part by refraining from gnashing on a hamburger actually brought peace to my spirit (as well as my stomach).
Relearning how to clean and jerk, snatch, and basically use my quads in a front squat brought much physical aches and pains. Nothing horribly debilitating, but enough to where I realized DANG. I am really out of practice with pulls and keeping a straight bar path and need to put in time on the platform drilling to remedy the mistakes. While complaining about my awful form to a really experienced lifter, he commented, “Well, that’s the sport. That’s what I love. The fact that it pushes you beyond what you think you can do is great and you feel so accomplished in the end. But in order to get to that place, you have to have patience. And dedication.” Patience. Ack. That is one fruit of the spirit I sorely lack. And so I realized that returning to weightlifting was actually a test for me–a test to see if I could persevere through not “being the best” and, well, basically sucking. Would I stop? Give up? Or would I have patience, pick myself up when I fell, and try again? Once I decided that I am NOT a quitter and would do the best I could everyday I stepped onto the platform, my training sessions took on a whole new life. I found at least one good event for every time I went to the gym, even if that one good event was that I found a close parking space. Changing my mindset has made me much more in tune to what I am doing in and out of the gym, and while I am still chipping away at that patience piece, I know I am at least headed in the right direction.
Planning how to make poetry more engaging to a group of seniors who are already slumping was equally draining was one of the most arduous, anxiety producing activities. Ever. I love poetry, absolutely adore the rhythm and images and majestic tone different types of poems create, and finding a way to get a group of 18-year-olds to appreciate the flow of Robert Frost or the modernist view of Eliot was daunting. So one night while I scoured through pages and pages of literary device definitions and biographies of poets, attempting to create the perfect lesson and powerpoint that could instill the beauty of poetry into my students’ psyche, I suddenly realized that all the stress I was placing on myself was obscene. I was teaching poetry BECAUSE IT IS LOVE. BECAUSE IT IS GOLD. BECAUSE IT IS PART OF GOD’S WONDER. I wasn’t creating plans to “win over” the students or for their validation. I was making lessons to show them how awesome of a God we serve that He could inspire people to create beautiful lines of literature. After that revelation, the rest of the unit was cake. We read poems. We talked about them. We read more. We talked more. It was glorious.
And then the kiddos. The little guy is so smart that he will tell me, “Mommy potty!” And then when I bring the plastic toilet out, he shakes his head, “No. Diaper.” We tried every type of potty training technique: the no pants, the positive reinforcement, the sticker chart, the cheerios in the toilet…you name it, we tried it. I was just about to lose it one night when our little guy peed all over the living room carpet. It was then that my husband reminded me that when it’s his time, it’ll be his time–no sense in trying to rush it. So why, then, did I feel this compulsion to get my son into underwear? Peer pressure? Partially. lots of other parents have their kids flushing and wiping on their own at the age of two. For preschool entrance? There was the answer, the cause of all my stress. We want out little guy to start pre-K next school year, but he can’t go to the facility until he can pull up and down himself and go unassisted. So now what? Well, like my husband said, no pressure. We have faith that one day he will learn to say, “Mommy!!! Shi-shi! Potty!” But until that time, we are still purchasing pull-ups in bulk from Costco.
So all of these resurrections, the bringing back of things from the past, were initially met with stress, anger, disdain, and stress again. For a good while, I slogged through the dreary “Why don’t my students like poetry?” and “Can’t he just sit on the potty?” questions, not stopping to remember that like Jesus’ rising from the grave, there IS hope, there IS light at the end of the tunnel. Once I changed my outlook to one of hopefulness and joy, I saw that all of these seemingly overwhelming events could actually be great times of learning…if I let them be.
And even this poor blog, which lay dormant for so long, I hope will feel that resurgence, that breath of life filling the page. Because if that resurrection power can bring healing to the sick, love to the broken hearted, and light in the face of darkness, then hopefully my words, my writing, will similarly increase your faith and bring you the same kind of freedom I experienced these past few months.