Sunday, January 11, 2009

for love of the sport

the things we do for love.
they are many and varied, depending upon what kind of love it is, obviously.
this morning I was decidedly suffering for my love, and I felt an exquisite pain as a result.

my love? cycling, but you knew that.
my suffering? another harder than hard spin class in a suffocatingly hot room.

let me be clear: I do not love spin class. I reluctantly get myself there, pick a bike with the right kind of saddle (there are 3 different kinds, only one of which my bottom can tolerate) in a spot where I can see out the window, clip on, and steel myself for the experience.
it is not fun.
it is hot and sweaty and difficult and I only do it so that when I get to ride my real bike in the real world I will be just one teeny iota better at it than I would be without the spin class efforts.
it's all about the love of the sport.
I pushed and climbed and watched my heartrate soar and wiped sweat from my eyes, knowing that I was only doing this because I love my real bike.

in the great big world and scheme of things, I suppose we do the same for interpersonal love.
we sacrifice, we compromise, we work harder than we want to work doing things we sometimes don't want to do. we push ourselves, we stretch beyond what we thought were our limits, we sometimes ache with the pain of it all. when we love, we don't always have an easy time.

and just as spin class is a kind of practice for the real cycling experience, our lives give us opportunities to practice giving and receiving love:
being friendly to the driver who just cut us off, stole our parking place, or almost drove right into us because he was preoccupied with something else.
thanking everyone who does anything even remotely helpful to us.
giving a stranger a compliment, shoveling your neighbor's walk, sending an email of thanks to someone who once did something nice for you, whether it be last week or five years ago.
smiling and saying hello to the people you pass, whether walking or cycling (!!) or jogging.
writing notes to your kids and leaving them under their pillows.
continuing a conversation that is difficult and heartbreaking, yet vital.
forgiving, and letting go.

the things we do for love.
they are not always easy, or fun, or even likable. but they move us forward, they encourage our growth, and they make us just a teeny iota better at whatever it is our love is about. and whether they involve sweat, or tears, or the swallowing of ego or the flexing of a part of us, they all make a difference.
they all

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