Friday, February 15, 2008

Next Year, I Think I'll Get the Flu Shot...

Been out all week with the "flu" or something viral. This left me in bed on Tuesday and Wednesday with the exception of forcing myself to eat and go see the doctor.

Went to NJ last weekend to see my coach, hang out with some friends, and revisit the past at Rutgers. It was a great trip.

I spent the entire afternoon on Saturday with Alfonso. It was just like old times and he hadn't changed a bit. The Cuban coffee was as strong and sweet as I remember it. He was glad to hear that I was faster at 35 than 25. However, he was incredulous when he actually saw it. This is one of the premises behind Z-Health: Truly becoming better with age. I snatched 102.5kg/2 x3 from above the knee and cleaned 130kg/2 x3 from above the knee. All were very fast, very easy, and very solid lifts. Al commented that my lockout on the snatch was much stronger than he remembered it. To be honest, it was much stronger than I remember it. This is undoubtedly from the cranial mobilization work I've been doing lately which has finally allowed me to feel "grounded."

Speaking of feeling "grounded," I spent all day Sunday at Rutgers walking through the campuses and various memories of the 10 years I spent there. It was pretty cool really.

Two major conclusions were reached while I was there:

  1. As the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Wrestling team, I had a major impact on the success of the team and the lives of those young men. So said the Assistant Coach when I saw him. He came right up to me and just told me how it was, with no solicitation on my part. In fact, he told me it was a major loss for the program when I left and that none of my successors measured up. This was very important for me to hear because I always wondered if the time I put in mattered, if my passion made a difference. It was good to see that I did. Every man needs to know that the battles he fights matter. I've been dreaming about this for almost 8 years, especially the last year, probably once a month. It's good to have some closure.
  2. As I walked near my old house and another part of the campus, I was keenly aware of God's presence and His working on my heart. What He was gracious enough to show me was that I have essentially spent the last 20 years living with the fear of the uncertainty of the future. This is EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of living by faith. Life, as John Eldredge says, is an adventure to be lived, NOT a problem to be solved. I have been "living" just such a way--as if life was a problem and I must find the solution. What a waste of time and energy! God has been teaching me through another area in my life to walk moment by moment trusting Him for the outcome. It was good to see the pattern revealed so now I can do something about it.
Having returned home, I have had a chance to practice this as I was miserably sick, lying in bed for 2 days. Instead of worrying about what I haven't done, I've just been attempting to be content to take each moment as it comes. However, the temptation has been to beat myself up for not getting my work done. And I have caught myself and been caught thinking this way. I must confess, there is a sense of peace from not trying to anticipate the future, but to just savor the moments in which I'm currently living.

What has all this to do with strength?

Quite a lot, really.

I am continually and repeatedly learning that strength, all strength, ultimately comes from God, whether I acknowledge it or not. Man, after all, is created in the image of God, and God of course, is strong. Faith then, or spiritual strength, is just like physical strength. It must have an object of focus and it must be exercised routinely. Just like physical strength, the more faith is exercised, the more of it you get. Unfortunately, I'm not sure you can periodize faith. You just have to look for it in the moment. It's kind of like always keeping your eyes open for a squat rack as you walk down the street, only better.

What did I learn about pain while I was gone? Absolutely nothing I didn't already know. The bottom line on why pain exists, from a philosophical perspective is simply this: Pain exists to draw us closer to God. That's it. Nothing more.

Why pain?

Because when pain is loud enough, we look for answers outside ourselves. This is where God comes in. This is where He gets our attention.

Interesting, huh?

More thoughts later, I'm sure.

Tomorrow, I hope to get back on the platform without my lungs burning. Should be fun. Probably plain ol' power snatches and power cleans from the floor.


Blogger Tim Anderson said...

I would say you still have a major impact on the lives of men (and women). I find your post continue to strengthen me. So perhaps strength/faith/God is also contagious. Get well.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Thanks, Tim. I was just being haunted by the uncertainty of the past. God was gracious enough to show me the answer to a very specific question.

7:10 PM  

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