benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: July, 2014

WITLESS WITNESS

This man is gorgeous.

 

Six feet two inches of endless chest, broad shoulders and sexy arms in what looks like a very expensive Tom Ford suit. And extra points for stubble on the face, blonde hair, blue eyes. Cleaned-up-corn-fed-farm-bred saunters up and casually leans in on the piano.

 

I’ve always hated this kind familiarity but tonight I really don’t mind. At all.

 

He tells me that he has enjoyed every song tonight. Especially the jazzed up Bach medley. And that he really liked the showtunes and the standards as well. But I would totally make his night if I could please play My One and Only Love?

 

And then he got down on one knee and proposed to me.

 

No. What he proposed instead was that if I wanted to play music forever I would come to the Jehovah’s Witness conference at Ford Field this Sunday.

 

As he walked away, I stared at the ugliest most perfect ass I had ever seen.

LET IT SHINE

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”

 

Luke 11:33

 

As much as I hate admitting it, I do go on autopilot every once in a while.

 

My fingers rely on pure muscle memory while my mind wanders, usually to a frequently envisioned place where I am sitting in silence, reading, retired in an Eames chair occupying the living room of a mid-century modern Palm Springs estate. Wordlessly, my boyfriend and equally mute dog do other quiet activities, preferably far away from me, at the other end of the house.

 

Meanwhile, in reality, it’s a busy night where voluminous decibels of clinking cutlery, clanking chitchat and clunking children are repeatedly raping my ear holes. Aurally, it’s the kind of gross groping I can endure only by going through a sequence of very practiced motions.

 

I think nobody is listening.

 

I justify a half-hearted performance because nobody can possibly be listening in all this noise.

 

These are the nights that beaming couples on their 50th anniversaries, come up to say thank you for making our evening so special.

 

These are the nights that joyful families celebrating birthdays and graduations ask for my weekly schedule so they can come hear me again.

 

These are the nights that bashful kids on tiptoes put crushed bills from their parents into my jar and tell me that they too play the piano, but not quite so good.

 

These are the nights that teary-eyed women and men take the time to let me know that their dad/mom/grandpa/aunt used to play that song when they were growing up and oh! how it brought back such fond memories.

 

These are the nights I am told again and again that I sound amazing and that I am uniquely talented.

 

These are the nights that I am also left with nothing to say and plenty to question.

 

Is my light turned on even when I think it isn’t? Can others see it when I do not see it myself? Am I on my very public stand as a foolish or wise virgin? Will I be asleep and dreaming again when I am judged? Or will I be better prepared tomorrow with oil in my lamp to shine, not just brightly with certainty and clarity, but with alert honesty?

A POUND OF FLESH

I recently realized that I just couldn’t put any more meat in my mouth.

 

In the quest to get bigger, I have been stuffing my face full with all manner of protein. For someone as experienced as me, I have to now sorely and sullenly admit to having finally reached the limits of what I can take.

 

It takes 3500 calories to loose a pound of fat.

 

It takes 10,000 calories to pack on a pound of muscle.

 

The math of mercy is even more exponential. We are instructed in Matthew 18:22 to keep forgiving the offenses of our brothers up to seven times seventy times.

 

That can be at times even more difficult to stomach.

 

In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Shylock never receives his pound of flesh because he can’t extract it without spilling the blood to which he is not entitled.

 

Far above this sway, a fundamental and wonderful precept of our relationship with God IS to have had the blood of his son Jesus Christ spilled for the redemption of our many transgressive pounds of flesh.

 

I do pray for the mercy to see salvation.

 

And because unrestrained, I receive it like gentle rain, I will keep on trying to render the deeds of mercy because it is enthroned as the holiest of attributes.

 

Perhaps, if I keep working on the size of my forgiveness, it will simultaneously increase the mightiest pump in my chest.

IN DEPENDENCE

Since my regular gym is a corporate one and doesn’t open on the weekends, I’ve been going downstairs to the little condo workout room in my building on Saturdays and Sundays.

 

It doesn’t have a whole lot of equipment – just barely what I need to accomplish my strength goals. More importantly, it is quiet and peaceful. I am the only one who is ever in there. And I am free to make a spectacular jackass of myself as I attempt a new or more complicated routine.

 

So it saddens me this week to say goodbye to the comfort and familiarity of what I have come to claim as my own secret and private space.

 

I have simply outgrown it.

 

To keep benefitting from weekend training, I need continue challenging myself at a big boy gym.

 

The first time I step on the floor with the monster 300-pound guys is Independence Day. I am scared and terrified. I don’t know if I will perform adequately in comparison. I don’t know if I can lift respectably by contrast. I am afraid to be utterly humiliated.

 

I find an open bench. I flip open my log book. I read the plan for the day. I take a swig of energy drink. I select my weights. I pick them up. I take a deep breath. And I begin.

 

Nobody stops to point and laugh.

 

Automatically, all the good coaching from the past kicks in. I remember to push with the right tempo and form. I inhale and exhale with the movement. I successfully finish my first set of presses.

 

I am on my own and doing just fine.

 

Fear of the unknown has prevented me from attempting many things before. I know now that while I am dependent on Grace for many things, I can be independent as long as The Word guides my actions and thoughts.

 

And that’s how eventually all little guys grow up.