Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Being A Jerk & Perspective Bombs

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. 

You've bonded.

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?


  1. While it's true that perspective can sometimes change everything, I don't think it's fair to think of yourself as the 'jerk' here. I guess the first thing that occurs to me is that, for him to have simply stopped showing up, without giving anyone a reason why, suggest to me that perhaps the 'bonding' you mentioned wasn't as deep for him as it was for you. His response to you, telling you to 'go to ____,' was also entirely inappropriate, and he owes you an apology. Your comment was based on the shared experience you two had. His comment would make sense had you KNOWN his wifes condition, and razzed him anyway - but you didn't; not until two days later.
    I understand that he's going through some deep, troubling waters here - but that doesn't give him license to be a jerk, but in this case, he was one. You would be entirely justified in telling him that, had he let the group - which he had 'committed' to for 3 months - know what was going on, you likely wouldn't have made the chirps on Monday, but further to that, he obviously knows what you do for a living, and as such, probably knows about your beliefs, too. Had he spoken to you 3 weeks ago, not only would you not have 'chirped,' but would there not likely be a network of people actively praying for his wife?

  2. Oh man! Wow. Love your prayer and I'll be praying too that you could be a real light in his life; a real encouragement and that he would come up see Jesus in you in the midst of this valley!

    Go AJ go!