Monday, September 17, 2007

The Riddle Of Steel...

This is mainly for the guys. Maybe I'm wrong but women seem to have this down.

We are ever changing...jobs, family, birth, death, relationships end, new ones begin, attitudes and points of view alter. But for me weightlifting has always been an anchor. If I was away from steel for a season when I came back it was waiting. Oh, some of the machines may have changed over the years but at the heart was always steel. Steel never lied. If I was lacking the tale was told. No condemnation, no stern looks, no judgement. Just an honest report. If I was up to the task steel gave true witness. No sunshine up my skirt, no bonfires, no cheers. Just fact. Steel has always been a true benchmark. But men have perverted that.

Isn't that what the world expects? From the time guys are old enough to push a bar we eye each other: "Can you bench your weight?" "How much can you curl?" Over the years I've grown to hate that. It always seemed to come from pride and arrogance. Judging someone by what they can or can't do..."I'm stronger" "Mines bigger". Whose got the biggest house? nicest car? smartest kids? It took losing several people very close to me in a very short period of time before I asked myself "What does that stuff matter anyway?"

Answer: the stuff of this world doesn't matter. I realized there were more important things in life than the size of a bank account or who won on Sunday. The only living part I have left of the ones who have gone on are the memories...the way they touched my heart. I guess that's part of the reason I fell out of love with sports in general. It's all about beating someone else, putting them down, humiliating them. There's too much of that in daily life that we can't avoid...why occupy our leisure time with it? That's why I've retreated to weightlifting. I don't need others to measure myself against. If I never see another person lift a weight I can still participate to the fullest. I can train by myself - keep it private. It's my business, no one else's. Put on the headphones, lift a ton and hope the world never finds me. And, if I get tired and walk away, steel will be there waiting for my return. No questions, no complaints, no back talk. What a temptation a life of solitude can be.

But, that's the enigma of steel: it's not alive. It's dead. It can't move without us. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it? * That's where real power lives. As strong as steel is it takes imperfect 'me' to give it function. Also, a life of solitude isn't life. No matter how much we think we can do it on our own, no matter how much we try to be the lone wolf, we need others or we die. Even the lone wolf is an enigma. He can't survive in the wild for long. That makes relationships the most important thing we have...relationships with friends, coworkers, lovers, wives, God.

So, I continue to lift by myself...no interference from others. No opinions, no one telling me I'm right or wrong, just steel. But, outside of the world I've built in the weight room, I try to surround myself with a group of men who make me better and avoid ones that would lead me down a dark path. And I try to be a leaky vessel and spill out to others what's been poured into me. Steel can build strong muscle but relationships build strong men: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Proverbs 27:17)

Some of these men are from church, some from work, some online but all fall under the same heading: friends. As a dear friend once told me "when all of life is over all that matters is who we loved and who loved us."

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2 Comments:

Blogger bother yam said...

I took a part-time job at a liquor store to (attempt to) offset the desk of the office. Moving, lifting, running up/down stairs keeps me from turning into veal.

I hate gyms, but I realize (and me darlin' Mrs reminds often) that I really need to attend more often. One of my goals for the remainder of this year: more Russians (a sort of upright crunch with a medicine ball) and ride in the rain/sleet.

Gotta toughen up, dontchaknow...

Glad things are cooling down for y'all.

10:59 PM, September 17, 2007  
Blogger Beast1624 said...

That kind of part time job would get me in BIG trouble! The main thing for me in the gym has been setting a rhythm and getting into a routine that I feel comfortable with. I totally understand not liking it, though. I hate running. If it weren't for my love of cycling I wouldn't get any cardio.

11:20 PM, September 18, 2007  

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