We’ve been friends since sophomore year of college. This friend has pushed me, made me stronger and even hurt me at times. I’ve suffered injury to be together, I’ve abandoned this friend for years at a stretch. Yesterday, however, this friend taught me a lesson when I least expected it: a very profound lesson.
My old friend is the Concept 2 rower in all its various shapes over the last 20+ years. I found it again yesterday morning at the gym. I was too late for a class but still wanted to get a good workout. I warmed up on a treadmill then meandered through the weight machines and free weights. There it was! At a window looking out onto a winter landscape of bare trees through full height windows.
I sat down, selected my distance and started the familiar push, pull and return. The hypnotic sound of the fan and chain allowed me to focus on imaginary waters still as glass but for the ripples from my strokes.
I thought about how in a regatta you always see where you have been but not where you are going. The start fades from view and the finish is not in sight until it has been passed. So many images and sounds rushed to mind.
We often row through this life with others, as a team. When oars are in sync the power is exponential. Oars would hit, the boat would be less stable, and progress would be hindered if one were to stop rowing. Thankfully, there is the coxswain to call out encouragement and mind the cadence. There has been coaching and training before all of this. Likely within each rower is a competitive drive and ambition to reach the goal. These all work together for success.
Much training happens alone on a rowing machine not going anywhere. Studying the numbers on a small screen becomes the only indication that any development has taken place. The strength we develop in our bodies is nearly imperceptible until it is put to the test.
It seems entirely appropriate to me that I look back today. There are past challenges I’ve completed. There has been a lot of time spent not going anywhere, but getting stronger all the while. There have been seasons when all training and discipline was all but ignored. There has been triumph, celebration, defeat, pain, exhaustion and rest.
This life of faith has been the same. I’ve had the pleasure of serving and growing with many amazing people. If you are reading this, the odds are high that you are one of those teammates! Thank you all for pushing me, setting the bar high, and helping me up when I’ve fallen short.
Tomorrow I celebrate the start of another year of an incredibly blessed life. I can’t imagine why I been so favored other than the simple fact that I am the daughter of the One High King who is able to do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine possible. Is anything too difficult for Him? Can I get a resounding” NO!”?
Is there a better gift I could ask for? I think not!