This one has been on my mind for quite a while now, but I’ve never been in the mood to really write it down for the great preoccupation of my mind on previously mentioned topics. It all really started with my return to the world of Cross-Country. I came into this season once again recovering from a lingering injury and so I was pretty much way out of shape. Running at the D1 level doesn’t exactly allow one to just jump in and be even remotely competitive. So, needless to say, I was behind in a big way and it was rough, mostly physically but also a little mentally. Every one of my workouts felt like a race, not one time did it feel good or even enjoyable. I dreaded every day of it. Close your eyes and do this for me: Imagine needing to go to work every day and it required you to drive yourself into complete exhaustion and extreme hypoxia and vomiting. Eventually it would get old. Such was my running. But after the passing of a few weeks, I started to hit my stride (yes, pun intended) and close the gap between me and the rest of the team. We do a workout called the “Canyon Run” that is essentially a 3 mile time-trial up the canyon road, and then the run back. It’s brutal and we do it on alternating weeks. By the third time I was doing ok again, not good, just ok (I never have done good in XC fyi, so relatively I was doing good) When we finished the TT, we stop at the top, regain consciousness and run back to the school. Slowly, mind you. But this particular time it was really hot and I had just moved up to 50 miles per week so I wasn’t looking forward to the extra distance I had to cover. Connor and I decided that we need to cool off cuz we were dying. We left the road and went down to the waterfall along the river in the canyon and he stuck his head in there. I just walked into it and stood there. It was pretty cold water but it was amazing. I just stood there, facing downstream holding my arms straight out to the side letting the water pour all over me. I couldn’t get myself to leave. I ran all the way home soaked and with squishing shoes but I hadn’t felt that good in literally years and I don’t mean physically, emotionally, it was elating. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest. This brings me to the point of this blog post. Contrast.
Life can suck at times. It seems that we only recognize our condition in life when things aren’t going very well but I’ve lived long enough to figure out that life always rebounds no matter the circumstance. It’s just difficult to see very far when you’re in a hole. I read part of a talk from this last General Conference by L. Tom Perry that basically said this same thing. He started off saying that “Those of us who have been around a while—and Elder Wirthlin and I have been around for a long time—have recognized certain patterns in life’s test. There are cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness, and times of plenty as well as scarcity. When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress and anxiety. One of the challenges of this mortal experience is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us—to endure the varied seasons of life while remaining positive, even optimistic.”
I’ve decided that it’s the contrast in life that makes life even worth living. I think I’ve vocalized this to some before, but it’s true. I knew Ashley would enjoy her summer being in Hawai’i but I also knew she’d want to get back home toward the end. I lived in resort towns on the Mediterranean Sea and on an island in the middle of the Atlantic and despite the exotic locations, it eventually became normal and I got bored. I needed a change. What makes things exciting in life is the fact that they’re different than what is currently happening. I believe that’s exactly why I suck at XC, I get sick of the constant agony that seems to last forever over 8k. On the other hand, I love the mid-distances of track because the pain is excruciatingly intense, but it doesn’t last very long. It changes. There’s variation. I wish it were possible to perfectly recall this when life gets tough, because honestly sometimes it almost makes trials enjoyable just for the sake of switching things up. Not always, but sometimes. In fact I think one of the most important things in the world is “perspective.” Our lives and our attitudes toward our circumstances totally and absolutely depend on our perspective. I mean, on my mission it was the most evident because people would curse God because they couldn’t believe that He would allow people to commit crimes and hurt other people, when really they lacked the understanding that right now, in this sphere, it seemed like a blatant injustice. How? They asked. If they had a larger perspective and comprehended that we don’t just exist here in this life, that wrongs will be righted, it would make sense to them. I need to work on this myself, but gratitude is lacking when it comes to the variation that God gives us here on Earth. He allows the good times to exist by giving us the rough ones.
If I were to jump into that same waterfall while I was cold, there’d be no enjoyment, I guarantee you, simply because of the lack of contrast.
P.S. If you were wondering what the last one was about, this song was going to be part of it (mostly the last line):
Boxcar Racer – There Is - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVmraPwCPEk
Heidi, that’s why you need to keep the referrals coming…