Friday, April 26, 2013

On Failure

I’m supposed to work out 5 times a week for 30 days. The first two weeks went GREAT! I felt energized and motivated by my budding biceps. Through a feat of mental toughness I powered through each workout and did whatever it took to accomplish my goal no matter how early or how late that had me downstairs doing Jillian Michaels jumping jacks in my living room.

But this week was tough! And I didn't work out.

I grew up in a family where we didn’t curse and I still don’t, especially to my parents. So, in one simple phrase you can imagine exactly how I felt about my week when I told my mom Thursday morning that “I JUST CAN’T GET MY SHIT TOGETHER!” I didn’t have any catastrophic failures but I failed in just about every small way I can possibly imagine—personal and professional. I really just couldn’t do anything right. I really could not get my shit together.

Today is one of those perfect Spring masterpieces and I happened to be in the city for work. As I drove home with the windows down, watching the city breathe and blaring my favorite song, one particular failure-- the work out one-- in an instant, brought a huge dark cloud over my mood. But it dissipated quickly as I had an overwhelming sense of sweet sweet failure. The best kind of failure possible—the kind where you just feel human and messed up and 100% OK with that.

I (who I am as a person) am OK, I’m good enough.

After that, the sun shone even brighter than before. I cranked up the music even louder, my hair tossed in the gritty (wonderful) Philadelphia wind, on a gritty (horrible) Philadelphia highway and I've never felt better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jesus Calms the Furious Squall

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.  The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be Still!" Then the wind died down and was completely calm. He said to them "Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?"  And they said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"
Mark 4
We're not in a boat 2,000 year ago in the Middle East, but you've been through a storm, right?  Some are heaving downpours of pain or grief, some are thunderstorms where one sharp clap of thunder and lightning changes everything.  But the last couple of months I have felt like I was in the midst of a furious squall.  The wind is whipping you in a million different directions, and you're getting tossed amid the gusts.  Personal and professional, emotional and spiritual, difficult decisions and difficult relationships, my boat isn't in the best shape.
But then there was Saturday. 
I'm going to Punta Cana for a destination wedding May and am working on my beach(ier) body. Those of you who know me well can imagine the rarity with which I decide to take a run around the neighborhood on a Saturday morning.  But it happened to be a beautiful 60 degree day and I needed to pick up a package from the post office.  So, I decided to run there with the vision of my new Vera Bradley travel toiletry bag waiting for me at the end of my journey and with the power of Destiny's Child Bootylicious driving me forward.
So, that's how I found myself walking across Frankford Avenue on the way home, out of breath, package in hand into a small park with a two benches and two beautiful trees with daffodils planted at the base.  I sat down.  The sun was beaming and when the wind would blow, a snow shower of tiny pink flowers would flutter to the ground catching the sun and becoming little twinkling lights.  I slowly....deeply.....breathed in the beauty.  If for a moment, the storm clouds seemed to break and the waves died down as I sat there in awe in the middle of broken city full of broken people just like me.
Where furious squalls come from and why, I don't know.  I probably should say that they are there to make you better or they are there for some higher purpose.  But I'm not sure why and I don't really care.  They happen and they happen to us all.  But they don't last forever and the voice of our Maker can be heard through the glowing flower petals as they fall to the ground, "Quiet, Be Still".