About 2 months ago I signed for the AMP'd program at Barrie Athletic Club. It's a 3 month, super intense workout that the head trainer uses with the pro athletes he trains. It's tough.
Our 6am group consists of 4 guys who showed up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. Seeing the guys 3 times a week, you start to build a relationship with them. Start to feel more comfortable with them. They've seen you sweat, struggle to breathe and curse the trainer just quiet enough that he can't hear.
About 2 or 3 weeks ago one of the guys stopped showing up in the morning. No announcement or warning, he just stopped being there. It was weird at first, but you get used to it. Before he disappeared, we'd chirp each other. He'd make comments about how sitting behind a microphone all day, had me in bad shape. He'd tell me I need to get a real job if I want to keep up with him.
"If your legs ran as much as your mouth, you might be able to do this without passing out."
***NOTE: Guys aren't good at expressing their feelings, so we resort to sarcasm and put-downs***
Fast forward to Monday morning, and the dude was back! So naturally I chirped him back.
"Was the workout too tough for you?"
"Did you give in and do the ladies class instead?"
Instead of the usual good-natured smile in response, he scowled and politely told me to go... someplace hot.
WHOA. What got into this guy? What's his problem? I decided to just avoid him for the rest of the morning. (Something I learned from living with Crystal. If she's grumpy, give her space.)
This morning he was in a bit better mood, but I elected to forego the chirps and be friendly. He still didn't seem to be his usual, jovial self. I told myself: "Maybe he's just tired."
After our workout we're sitting in the hot tub and I find out his wife was diagnosed with cancer and started treatment in Toronto 3 weeks ago.
Instantly everything changed. I didn't see him as a crotchety old man anymore. He is a husband who is hurting. "Until death do us part" has suddenly taken on an entirely new meaning for him.
I secretly wished I could sink to the bottom of the hot tub and have the jets suck me out and transport me back into the change room without him noticing.
I was reminded how blessed I am to have a healthy wife and child.
How blessed I am that I can get up early and have the energy to workout 3 days a week.
How blessed I am to have a relationship with this guy in the midst of his hurt and pain.
Lord, I pray you'd give me the opportunity to be your voice in this guy's life. That I can be there to stand alongside him in his pain and uncertainty. I pray that I could play a small part in the redemption story you are writing in his life.
Amazing how a little perspective changes everything huh?