Kick Butt. Rest. Balance. Repeat.
The other day I was on the cross trainer at the gym and a man caught my eye. Usually, I keep to myself because I am focused on kicking my own butt and I don’t have time to mess around. But, this gentleman was far too interesting. He was about 80 years old (minimum) and maybe 4’11. He was Asian and wearing legit track pants with a t-shirt tucked into them. Written on the back of his white t-shirt was, in big, bold, red letters, “ROMANS 5:8”
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I was immediately intrigued and watched him intently. He had on boxing gloves and was punching the hanging punching bag with everything he had in him. He wasn’t necessarily strong and, from what I could see, he was barely hitting the bag. But, it didn’t stop him. He went to town on it. And in my head I started cheering him on, “get it dude, get. it.” He then walked (more like shuffled) over to a chair and sat down for a good 5 minutes and continued to stare at the punching bag, as if to say, “I’m coming back for you.”
On the floor close to the chair he was sitting on was a taped white line about 6 feet long. Next to that was a taped grid about the same length. He then practiced his balance and walked a straight line as if it were a balance beam. He lost his balance several times but continued to try until he walked the length of it without any bobbles. Then, he went back to the punching bag and not only punched it but started to backhand it. Then he rested and repeated the cycle a few times.
He finished off his workout by going back to the punching bag. At that point, he ripped his gloves off and started to kick the bag with his feet. It was amazing. I continued to cheer him on. I wish I could convey the delight of watching him; he didn’t care what was going on around him or that I was watching him, he just got to the business at hand.
It motivated my workout that day, just watching him. If this 80-something year old man doesn’t give up, you, Suzann, will kick some serious butt as well. It actually encouraged me far beyond a regular workout. On that day, I had been back in the US for just 2 weeks. I’m still in culture shock. I’m still tired, and I am working hard on our project, on completing this documentary film, on keeping promises, on speaking out for those unheard, and not giving up.
I could be reading too much into watching this little old man work out but I think it might be a gentle nudge on how to go about what I believe. A dear friend already challenged me about taking care of my soul in the midst of this overwhelming project just a few days before. This seemed like a nice follow-up especially with the bible verse. Which you have to admit, is a nice touch.
God demonstrates his own love for us…
I believe this to the core of my very soul. The teachings of Jesus are why I do what I do. Jesus is why I work with Palestinians, why I’ve given my life to serve them. It’s why I don’t give up. Most of the time -- and trust me on this -- I want to give up. But, I just can’t. I’m not sure I could live with myself if I did give up. I’m not sure my faith would be real if I did. Jesus hung on that cross for us not because of our goodness but because of God’s extravagant love for us. Period. You can’t earn it and you can’t lose it.
How wonderful is that really? How wonderful is it that I can head out into this hurting world and serve those marginalized or those suffering or those believed to be enemies? Because I know what was done for me and because I know what was done for them too. That Romans 5:8 t-shirt tucked into legit track pants was my reminder, my centering, and my balance.
So, I’ll continue to fight to make this documentary. Because this is the way I am choosing to live out my faith, by using whatever I have to give an opportunity for Palestinian voices to be heard and for their reality seen, to bridge my community in America to experience God’s love for my community in the Middle East.
Take a look at our documentary film project, This Is The Camp. I’m so proud of our work. It already cost us our blood, sweat, and tears, and it’s not going to get easier either. Maybe that’s why it’s valuable -- because of the cost. You can follow our progress and setbacks here on the Facebook page.
A special thanks to that old man and his boxing gloves; he truly amazed me. And that inspiration is my new regime, as follows:
Kick butt with all my might no matter the impact or my insecurities. Don’t give up.
Rest and work on restoring my soul in order to kick serious butt mentioned above.
Balance work and my soul with my faith in Jesus and his teachings. Demonstrate.