You're gimpy - what now?

Notice the blood pooling at the
bottom of my foot. Mmmm.
I should warn you up front - if you're not one with the stomach for Christian stuff, or touchy feely emotions, you should just stop reading this post right now...

Anyway, now that I'm a useless gimp that can't even walk to work (I'm still going, I'm just not walking there), I've had a lot of time to reflect on the position I'm in, and why I'm doing what I'm doing. When an injury like this happens, there's always a bit of a lag time between the injury itself, and the emotional toll it takes on you. My low point occurred when I got back from a lovely trip to Vermont to visit my friend Gered. I really did have a nice time, including the chance to watch Gered destroy the field in a Shamrock shuffle. Seriously. Almost a minute. Nice job buddy.

Gered and Milton collecting first prize!
When I got back from the trip I felt flooded with a whole bunch of negative thoughts:
(a) I just watched someone else perform in the way I would have liked to, as I sat lame on the sidelines,
(b) I have now entered another season with injury (that's 3 out of 4),
(c) my financial contribution to my family is less than 10%,
(d) I started the season with a sub-par performance, and have yet to see the gains I want to with this stuff
(e) "Gee I should really get to work at this triathlon thing if I'm going to be good for anything... oh wait, I CAN'T."
(f) "Is this really my calling? 'Cause right now, I feel pretty darn worthless..."

Like I said, we're running pretty low on the self-esteem chart at this point.

Calling yourself a "professional athlete" and living the appropriate lifestyle can add a lot of pressure to the sport, and to your life. Especially when you're married. Every morning, my wife gets up early and gets all dressed up to go to work. As she walks out the door in her fancy work clothes, I'm either still sleeping to make sure I got enough sleep, or I'm walking around the kitchen in my sweats making a big delicious breakfast that she wouldn't have time to sit down and eat even if it were ready before she left. While she's in her office working away, I'm outside on my bicycle, or swimming in a pool. At the end of the day, she brings home a paycheck that covers a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, while I bring home bills for new bikes, and plane tickets to races in Florida, or training trips in Colorado. Man, this really sounds bad when I write it out...

The point is, that even on a good day, where I've pushed myself for six hours of exhausting swimming, biking, and running, it's still pretty easy to feel like I'm not pulling my weight as part of our family. So at a point when I've just raced poorly, and now I can't continue to train, that feeling of uselessness is really quite strong. It's one of those times where the idea of giving up, turning around, and going back to work feels more productive and responsible. It even feels like it's the right thing to do at times.

But last weekend, while Emily was visiting her family, God helped put things back into his perspective. I was reminded that my calling is NOT to be a triathlete. It's to follow Him. I am called to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Even when he leads me into the unknown, or what might seem like a dead end. (Like a career as an injured triathlete... ;-)) Even when he leads me into places that I do not want to go, or that I don't understand. A very wise friend reminded me that it's most important to remain faithful to God when your life seems to make the least sense.

At the moment, it is STILL clear that God wants me doing this pro triathlete thing. It may not make sense, and it may be difficult, but I've decided to trust Him, and continue to see where this path leads. Thank you Pastor Rod, for being the voice I needed to hear!