Like many people, I often don’t realize something that can be seen as inspirational if it bit me in the butt. I don’t usually pay that close of attention. But, last Monday, it hit me in the face. An inspirational story that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.
I had finally been released to work out, and my first session was that day right after work. I was excited, but nervous. What would my trainer make me do this time? And why do I NEED to work out?
I work at a high school in the special education department. I was in the middle of an Earth and Space Science class and helping a particular student. He uses crutches to get around, and I hadn’t speculated as to why. For no reason that I can point out, other than divine intervention, he starts talking about his disability. He was born with Cerebral Palsy. His parents were told that he would never have the ability to walk, that he would be in a wheel chair for his entire life. But, his parents knew better. I’d like to think they could tell their son was a fighter. They did a lot of therapy and worked hard to overcome his inability to walk. And guess what? He learned to walk! He defied all odds against him and did it. HE did it. He walks around with the help of crutches all day, every day. It is obvious that it isn’t easy for him, but he does it. If for no other reason, to spite the doctors that said he couldn’t.
And I am complaining about working out? For an hour? Why? I have the ability to do so with no other reason not to.
After hearing my student’s story, I realized that I am looking at exercise all wrong. It isn’t a punishment for eating or anything else. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. I am healthy. I can walk without assistance. I can workout without a fear of my body giving out on me. I can celebrate the beauty of life by rewarding my body with exercise. Because, at the end of the day, the things my body can do are things someone else is hoping and praying their child will eventually have the ability to do. And some of those children never will.
Today was my second session back with my personal trainer. She definitely isn’t holding back, and I don’t want her to. I enjoy the soreness that I feel after. I like the heat in my muscles. I like how it feels to stretch those muscles over the next few days. I am thankful I am able to do what I can to move forward in my journey to healthy.
As for my student, Jessica currently works out twice a day. He wrestles for our school as well. But, the most fascinating thing to me, he looks forward to doing something for the military. Because of his disability, he would not be able to enlist. So, true to his character, he found another way. He will be pursuing a path to eventually work for the Department of Defense. And I’m sure he won’t stop there.