The Warrior Within
"Through this Challenge I have been transformed, and I am filled with a warrior's spirit."
Something important has shifted within me and in order to fully explain something you cannot see, I need to rewind somewhat and go back to the weeks and years leading up to my Challenge. During this endeavor I've been doing some serious self-evaluation in an attempt to unearth how I could have come to this physical and mental state after so many years of being a "Marine's Marine." The Challenge almost requires it, as it provides ample opportunity to conduct an introspective look within. As the past week of my quest (for that is exactly what this has become) has unfolded, I've come to some stark realizations.
Sometime between my return from Iraq in 2003 and my greatest friend Jason's death from brain cancer, I had lost my reason to fight. I just gave up living. I had always believed that Jason would survive his brain cancer, and losing him hit me harder than I realized until this moment. I'll always see him with a huge smile and the small yellow wristband with the words, "LIVESTRONG" written upon it. The most important and meaningful memories of the last 15 years involved him. He taught me how to race motorcycles, he introduced me to Pam, and he cradled Kayden in his arms the day she was born while I fought in Iraq. When he confessed he'd never seen a miracle in his life, I invited him to cut Sarah's umbilical cord while I held Pam's hand in the delivery room. Together we camped, rock-climbed, scuba-dived and traveled. I missed the passion he brought to living. I missed my friend. My life became directionless, and I was a rudderless ship tossed upon a fierce sea. I was simply trying to survive day to day without any plan or much hope.
As a result, I stopped; stopped it all. The more out of shape I became, the more reluctant I was to do anything physical. I began doubting my strength and courage and yearned to know that I still had it. I wasn't feeling masculine anymore, especially while in the company of other men. Most importantly, I was no longer in a state to receive God. My heart wasn't open. It was closed to everyone and everything around me. Life became grey, losing any vibrancy or color. I needed to be tested. I needed to know that I still had "it." I needed to find myself or I was going to lose those things I valued most in this life, including my salvation. Thankfully, this isn't the situation anymore. As I stated, something has changed.
Through this Challenge I have been transformed, and I am filled with a warrior's spirit. I am restored and freed from life's burdens. No longer am I awkward in the gym or in my training, but I am instead a powerful force to be reckoned with. I feel whole; my mind, body and spirit have melded once again. This transformation isn't simply about the warrior within, but the poet has awakened, too. The tenderness that attracted Pam has returned and with that we are experiencing the intimacy that only two people truly in love will understand. Exuberance and joy have replaced melancholy and lethargy.
I am also experiencing a peace and serenity in my chaotic life that I hadn't envisioned as a part of the Challenge. Everything has slowed down and problems don't appear too foreboding or insurmountable. The Inner Transformation has taken hold. I'm climbing out of the old out-of-shape rut, and experiencing a new sense of well-being.
The warrior spirit is within everyone, not just professionally trained Marines. We are all "wonderfully made" and born to take action. Just as I currently fight for my daughters, my marriage and my soul, you can fight, too. Join the Challenge and re-engage and slough off the paralysis of self-doubt and ignorance. And between you and me, I believe Jason would've been proud.
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Note: This article was sent to us by: Kyle Ferguson at 06012010
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