Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Triathlons, Aloe plants and how we are all connected.

And life, like that, is back to its crazy rythmn. Life in a university town means you never leave the university schedule. Late nights, sometimes late mornings, centered around the next holiday/vacation means that life is either on or off around there.

We needed off time. On time means intense, never stopping hardly to catch your breath around here. Off time was good. But this weekend we were back on, taking pictures for a race here in Granada.

I took my perch up on Llano de Perdiz, a hill behind Granada. I waited in the rain as each particpant ran/walked/climbed over my hill and seemed to appear from nowhere, and took pictures. As the rain intensified, my friend said, "Go, find a warm, dry spot." and I said, "No, I will wait for the last ones. I am always last, so I will wait."

One of my friends was one of the final ones, mostly due to the fact that a number of people pulled out. He arrived spent, happy, ready to finish and happy to see us.

As he and I talked about the race today, I told him how his girlfriend had expressed her nervousness for him. I tried to,and didn't really explain well (I think Spanish wasn't my friend today) how I understood her nervousnessness.

One of the first serious races Andrew and I took pictures for three years ago was the long distance Sierra Nevada race. As we walked amoung the men and women about to compete I had two impressions.

1. Shaved legs. More than I'd ever seen. On men.

2. The buzz. I could feel it. Even though I wasn't going to race, I felt all their nerves, excitement, trepidation and energy. It was amazing. It made me want to a race of my own. Several months later I did.

But this got me thinking about how even though I was only an observer that day (as well as others) how much we are and can be connected emotionally.

This week, my light reading is a children's novel by Madeline L'engle. It's rather deep, and I've read it twice,and have finally "gotten it". The idea that is the main theme is this, from the microspocic creatures to the largest galaxies, size doesn't matter, our names do. Our presence, our very being. She puts this in simple terms.

A boy in the book, reads a theory about this, and decides to test it. He plants three beans, one in his home, a broken, angry, sad home. Two beans he plants in a library corner (permitted by the librarian). One of them he lovingly talks to and encourages. Of course, the third bean grows magnificantly, the first one is wilted and horribly deformed.

And this brought me back to my plants. Two and a half years ago, my aunt Debbie left Spain and gave me four aloe plants. They have lived, inspite of my oft neglect. Strangely enough, they somehow seem deeply connected to my aunt, and just looking at them gives me both comfort and concern.

This past May, my cousins' son experienced great pain, and then it was discovered that he had cancer. Only three years old, we prayed, cried and hoped. He almost died, but he didn't. He is now in the States recieiveing chemo.

Through the lowest moments as my aunt and uncle, grandparents to this little three year old boy, my aloe plants struggled. This summer, even though I watered them, they turned red and brown.

But as my aunt and uncle have traversed the Camino de Santigo, or the way of James, I can see in their photos and words, new life has been given them. They are finding it again. Suddenly, just this week, after I gave away an aloe plant to help heal one of my friends skin, the three remaining aloe plants have turned green again. Two of them suddenly are sprouting two new sprouts, as though in the act of me giving away the fourth one they are suddenly reproducing. It's as if these plants, know, those who gave them to me, are growing new roots of their own.

We are all connected and may we find our Source of Life from the One who created it, and Loves us and Calls us His own children.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

So....the story of Tony Gallopin continues...and I think it's appropiate to recount it here.

After his day of wearing the yellow jersey and supreme suffering, they all had a rest day. He told everyone later that he sat down with his father, a former pro cyclist, and his fiancee, a pro cyclist as well, and looked at what the next day's race would look like. They realized it was going to be a lot harder than what the race organizers had stated it would be.

So..the played it out, and yesterday, Tony let his legs get used to the bike, and stayed with the pack, then broke away 5km before end. He sprinted so hard UPHILL, that no one could chase him down, and he won the days stage, placing him now 5th in the overall standings, 3 minutes and a little bit behind the Grand Nibabli.

 This gutsy little cyclist is inspiring me, as much phsycially as metaphysically. To have seen his face of extreme suffering, my heart cried out for him. I didn't get to watch the Tour yesterday but to read the news this morning on my mobile that he cycled his heart out, just made me feel warm and fuzzy all over this morning. He has to feel pretty good this morning putting on his jersey and starting out.

Personally, I feel pretty wrung out. I've struggled quite a bit with a chronic kidney issue this year and it takes all of our soul to do so.....however, at the same time, I'm physically in the best shape of my life..and I have found that keep so helps me deal with my chronic kidney issues.

On the emotional and mental end, I feel the need to rest and then go back at the attack when it comes to a lot of different things. I hope during this summer we can restratgize, look at the route ahead us and be ready for the uphill attacks. What a great story and so appropiate for this moment in my life.

On the end note, Gallopin won the stage, but there is a another winner with the young American Talanksy. Apparently with all the rain and falls, he's got a really sore back, and has suffered in everything. He almost quit yesterday, sitting on the side of the road, and even crying in pain. But after a bit,he got on the bike and still made the cut off time for the race, mostly because his coach taked him back on.

Two winners. Both because of the support they received, were able to go on and triumph yesterday. When was the last time you were team support for a winner? When was the last time you relied upon others to finish well? Good questions, ones that I am asking myself today to keep me focussed and pushing on to "the race set before us".

Monday, July 14, 2014

I know this blog has been long forgotten in the last several months, but today I want to revisit it.

First, I have this feeling,and it's been hard to describe, until today. Today, Andrew and I watched the last few minutes of today's stage of the Tour of France. This is a grueling 3 week race that most Americans didn't know existed until Lance Armstrong dominated the scene.

Andrew and I weren't ever fans, until we started to become weekend warrior cyclists. We do some cycling and understand a small portion of what these incredible men do.

One rider today, Tony Gallopin, wore the yellow jersey. He only wore it for today, and he worked so hard to be true to it. He called today's stage, "Four hours of suffering" as these men tried to in pouring rain and then a huge climb up Le Planche des belles filles.

He got to the end, not first, and had to relenquish his yellow jersey. They showed him being stopped after the fnish line, dripping sweat, snot and tears. The aide gently held him up, and talked to him. He then reached over, and uncliped Tony's shoes from his pedals, and gave him a can of Gatorade. He was so exhausted from the effort, he couldn't even unclip his own shoes.

I resemble, and I think my husband too, that a little bit. We've held on here in Granada, in this little community trying to find out what it means to be a community, and find out who God is, and show how much He loves us all, for so long, we are a bit like Tony. The last two years have been a long uphill climb, with a yellow jersey we've earned as far as hanging in there...but we are in need of someone to help us stop and untangle ourselves from the bike for a rest.

Andrew and I deeply hope this summer will be that rest. More on this blog as we wander through this summer and 2014.