Never before have I had an epiphany while on an eliptical machine...
I just joined a fitness club, not because I need to lose weight, but because I needed some inspiration. I needed some fresh air after the cold and the snow and the decorations came down. I needed to get out and see people, friends, and remember to be kind to myself. I needed a challenge, and I wanted to step outside my comfort zone. Imagine that.
As I was...elipticizing (???)...I chatted back and forth with a friend of mine who I joined with. When we finished our half hour, she said good-bye and I headed to work on a few more machines. A woman smiled at me as I was wiping down an ab machine I fondly refer to as "Killer." I paused, thinking she might ask me a question. She looked like she was about to and then turned and walked away.
I was slightly confused as I got situated on "Killer." I made a note to approach her after I was done.
As I passed the eliptical machines on my way to the locker room, I saw this woman again. I made a quick decision to hop back on the machine next to her, hoping to strike up a conversation...and not get punched in the face.
Her face was not what it was 15 minutes before. She was somber, focused, and kept her gaze directed away from me. On purpose.
Defeated, I decided I couldn't get off of the machine after only 30 seconds, so I set my course and kept pushing myself. My legs were done. But I felt like I needed to wait for her.
She finally finished up and I pretended I did too. I had given up as she cleaned her machine and walked away. I guess I wasn't supposed to talk to her after all. Embarrassed, I walked to the locker room to get my sweatshirt and keys. As I was zipping up my hoodie, I felt someone come up next to me.
"I'm sorry...I just thought you looked like someone I knew. I must look like a weirdo..." It was her. The woman I caused paralysis in my legs for. I smiled at her. "No, no, not a weirdo. I just wondered if...you were...okay." The words came out of my mouth like a splash on the floor. After a pause, she spoke.
"I just noticed you here yesterday, and I saw your Walk for Autism shirt...and then, today...I saw you were wearing a shirt about...Team Isaac with that "Keep on Truckin" saying on the back...it was inspiring to me, I don't know...and I just wanted to tell you without being weird." Nervous laughter.
I tried not to cry. I was so touched. "Isaac is my son, actually, and we had these t-shirts made up when we walked in his honor a few years ago. We put a truck on the back because, well, he loves anything with wheels, and keep on truckin' is the slogan we decided on since...you don't stop fighting for the ones you love, no matter how hard or how long it takes, right?"
She nodded and smiled but it looked sad. "Have a good one." She put on her jacket and walked out. I wondered how hard that was for her to tell me what she just did.
We don't always know the reasons why we end up where we do, at what time, and with whom. I flashed back to the day I wore that "Keep on Truckin'" t-shirt on a cold September day in 2009, watching Isaac in his stroller as we walked...I remember looking at him and wondering where he'd be and how we'd get there. Today, I knew I was there not to BE inspired, but to be and INSPIRATION. I really hope I see her again, and maybe we can talk more.
My legs are sore, but my heart is revived.