In January, 10 months ago now, my husband and I decided to improve our physical fitness by creating a training and meal plan that would enable us to increase our strength and stamina while...never mind, we started counting calories and moving our backsides because we wanted to stop gaining weight and get in shape.
Being 40-something with three kids does not, in fact, doom a person to a life of going downhill...at least not coasting down at high speeds. If I am going down, I am doing it with two parachutes open and the brakes on!
Soon after, my husband discovered a worthy motivation.
THE TOUGH MUDDER.
This is an event where you pay the organizers to let you run miles and miles stopping only to crawl through, jump over, climb under, hang from, get shocked by, or freeze in whatever obstacle they have set up. Oh yeah, the proceeds benefit Wounded Warriors. Your thanks for completing the course? An orange sweatband and a beer. (Oh don't get all worked up, just don't drink the beer if you don't want to...its okay to be the salt you know...)
So, my husband trains and I walk. We write down calories, a surprisingly easy and cheap way to alter your eating for the better, and I lose a size and my husband loses 30 pounds. *sigh*
The day arrives and we drive down, all five of us, the kids are crazy excited. They have done lots of "training" with him (health, it's not just hereditary but contagious, yes?) and they are ready to watch some funky monkey (monkey bars) and the kiss of mud (crawling through mud under barbed wire) and other obstacles with slightly edgier names whose double meaning was lost on the kiddos. (I just used some of the less conservative elements as a springboard to brainwash the kids with my own point of view.)
Look at the hands on the right edge of the pic above, those hands waiting to help a stranger up. When was the last time I helped anyone up?
This is not a commercial for the Tough Mudder but a commercial for the world around you. I had forgotten that people are not just mankind but uskind and we are loved, if not always by each other but by our Creator.
Everyone was so nice, participants, volunteers, family members, everyone. Some of the costumes were skimpy but really, we saw the same amount of flesh in a fast food restaurant the night before. There were signs encouraging determination, reliance on--wait for it--OTHERS, doing your best and getting back up when you fall and above all, HELPING OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE DOWN.
You see, in my insulated little world, I fear I have lost my saltiness. I admit to you that I stand apart when I venture outside my circle of family and church. I don't know quite how to handle the world at large because I seem to be rarely in it anymore. And considering my faith, this makes me quite useless. So I was really encouraged to see what potential we have to impact the world around us.
I saw people at the Tough Mudder wearing their faith, talking their faith and walking their faith and these real people and the others there who were having fun on behalf of a noble cause, these should be some of our heroes, not the folks on TV who are paid but the ones who have paid just to help someone else. A worthy model, don't you think?
The Tough Mudder Creed
As a Tough Mudder I pledge that:
I understand that Tough Mudder is not race but a challenge.
I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
I do not whine, kids whine.
I help my fellow mudders complete the course.
I overcome all fears.
Now, with your permission, I would like to editorialize...
I understand that life is not a race but a challenge and the goal is a race worthy of a "well done" from you, and certainly NOT to finish first!
I put love of you and love of my neighbors before MY chosen course.
I do not whine but try to be thankful in all circumstances because You are God and I am not.
I help my fellow mudders complete the course, enough said.
I overcome all fears only through You who strengthen me.
And another thing, this event was physically and mentally challenging. We need more of that in general. Let our men and boys, many of whom were made to be warriors, let them have challenges and do hard things and fail and try again. Let them test and exert themselves. Spiritually, can you imagine how salty they could make an event like this if they were to come in droves?
And for your girls, what an inspiration. My daughter watched a beautiful young woman cross the monkey bars (these bars, about 20 of them, followed the inclined roof line going upward, peaking and coming down), with the guys in her group cheering her on. We were so impressed because those fitness nut guys cheering, they had fallen from the bars into the muddy water before that girl crossed.
Events like this are springing up all over now. Test them to make sure the cause is worthy but we are inspired to action. The boy, 9, watched his daddy cross "the monkey"and said out of the side of his mouth, "How old do you have to be to do this?"