I read something today that made me thing of something I read the other day and the two things combined made me think about the sorts of things I think about everyday and often find myself without the words to say them let alone the space in which to speak them such that their impact is significantly felt and by those who most need to hear it.
The intersection of those things may still not be present at this time but it is coming out regardless so sit back.
These words are not mine. In the fist example the speaker is unknown to me. The latter words are those of Parker Palmer.
“I will never be an astronaut. I will never know what it’s like be someone else, to live a different life. Like you say, the world is so big, and I wonder if I’m missing out.
I will never be an F-1 racer. I will never be a supermodel. I will never know what it’s like to fight in a war. To be a dancer on a cruise ship. To be a dealer in Las Vegas.
Not because there are entirely impossible to achieve. But because I can’t dance.(I tried). I can’t take G forces (I can’t even ride a roller coaster). I am not tall or pretty enough. I hate physics and math, so I can’t be an astronaut.
This is less about whether I CAN actually do any of those things, but more about whether I’d actually want to do them. Or to be dedicated enough to work towards them.
I will never be that person.”
“Did I want to go to Pendle Hill? I cannot say that I did. But I can say with certainty that Pendle Hill was something that I couldn’t not do.
Vocation at its deepest level is not, “Oh, boy, do I want to do to this strange place where I have to learn a new way to live and where no one, including me, understands what I’m doing.” Vocation at its deepest level is, “This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling.”
Thos two statements have nothing and everything in common and they resonate with me on the deepest level. It speaks to what is happening in the gym every single day. It is the best part of XCF. It is the best part of any community. Things are happening that we know are important. We don’t know exactly how are why but they need to happen. We are inexplicably drawn to a thing that challenges at best and punishes at worst because there is something in it and on the other side of it that we need in our life. We aren’t going to the CrossFit Games and we don’t care. It isn’t about that. In fact CrossFit by itself isn’t even the answer to whatever problem you are trying to solve. It is bigger than that. We don’t just do this thing because we want to. We can’t NOT do this thing. I love that aspect of this thing whatever this thing is. I love how far outside of the gym we can take this stuff as well. Work, wife, kids, night school, kickball, and on and on. It isn’t just about know what I do want or don’t want. It is about knowing what I can’t do without and how that shapes what we do in those spaces. I can’t tell you why I do all of the things I do and I am sure you can’t tell me why you do all of the things that you do. What I do care about is whether or not you are listening for the voice that tells you what those things are supposed to be. You don’t even have to fully understand it but I do want you to live fully out of it.
Why do you train? I don’t care what the reason is. I only care that it comes from a place that moves you to authentic action. Why do you do any of the things you do?
Dig into that a little bit. Sit with it a while. A long while if necessary. If you are brave enough and patient enough I bet you come up with something good. Scary maybe. But that is good too.