Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Breathing Under the Barbell

Breathe in.
Memorial for Unborn Children

I walked up to the rack; put my hands on the rough bar. 

Breathe out. 

“Stand it up.” I say to myself, just like every squat day.

Breathe in. 

Breathe out. 

I get under the bar and situate my shoulders, feet, and hands. The anticipation of lifting heavy makes my heart pound.

Breathe in. 

I stand the bar up. It is heavy, but somehow not as difficult as the burden I am carrying inside. 

Breathe out.

I back out of the rack loving the heavy weight, the struggle that I know is coming. 

Breathe in.

Down and up, rep one. Breathe. Down and up, rep two.Breathe. Down and up, rep three. Breathe. Down and up, rep four. Breathe. Down and up, rep five. 

Breathe out. 

Set one is finished and my abdomen aches from trying to hold the bar stable. I stretch backwards and breathe slowly, remembering why I am so tender. Just two days short days ago, I had a miscarriage. My husband was gone to Captain's Career Course with the Army. I was left alone with nothing but the memory of the doctor saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss”

I spent the next two days in bed. 

I didn’t shower, change clothes, or eat.

I couldn’t cry and I knew I was supposed to. 

I felt hollow, like I would never move again.

Then back-squat day rolled around, my favorite day of the week. Still, no tears, but the thought of training made me optimistic. That is normal, everyday, and consistent.  I decided that I would just go watch and be around my friends while they trained. After all, I reasoned, the doctor said it was important to be around friends and family during this difficult time.” And if it couldn’t be my husband, who was more family than the people I sweat it out with every single day?

As I walked in to the gym, my heart began to calm. The tension I had been carrying in my neck and shoulders eased. There is a peace in the gym, you know exactly what to expect.

My friends were surprised I was there. They were even more surprised when I put on my lifting shoes and started to warm up. I could tell they were concerned that I was lifting, but didn’t want to question me. 

They couldn’t understand how much I needed that bar.

For two days I couldn’t imagine how I was ever going to breathe again. How I could I with this tank sitting on my chest and this knot in my stomach eating me alive? I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t make sense of anything. The bar is always the same, you go in and you lift it. Training was the only thing I could think of that would make me feel better. 

So I went for it.

After set one, a dear friend looks at me with sad eyes and suggests I go down in weight or stop all together, “It has only been a couple of days” she says gently. 

I know she means well and I understand what she is saying. Everyone said it. It would be ok if I was an emotional mess for a while. It would be ok if I need time off of work, or training, or anything else for that matter. I had suffered a horrible loss, it is ok to stop and cry…. 

So I consider it. I could stop, put the bar down, get back in bed and hide. This pain can’t last forever, right? People have miscarriages every single day. It would be fine, appropriate, and normal even, to go home and just hide from the world. Her eyes said everything, Who works out two days after a miscarriage?

But she can’t understand. Lying in bed and resting wasn’t enough for me, the burden is just too much. I felt like the sadness would swallow me whole. I was struggling to get a handle on it. 

I couldn’t stop my body from losing our child. 

I couldn’t pull myself out of the weird state of shock I was in.

I couldn’t cry like I was supposed to.

I couldn’t make it so that my husband could come home from career course. 

I could not control anything else in my life…
but I can lift this weight.  

I knew it as soon as I walked in the gym. When my eyes fell on the rack, I could breathe again. “Big breath,” my husband/coach always says, right before a heavy set.  Under a barbell is the only place I knew for sure, I would breathe again. All the pain, all the disappointment, it melts away when you are under the bar. You mind zeroes in and all you can think about is the pounds on your back. 

Inside the rack there is freedom, freedom to be strong on the outside even if you don’t feel that way inside.
With tears rolling down my face, I smiled for the first time in two days“I’ve got it” I said and walked back into the rack and back under the barbell.

Morgan says,
"Two years ago today God saw fit to call home our first child before we got a chance to meet him. It was very hard and very painful and the gym was my sanctuary, my church. It was where I could focus everything I had on coming back together after being torn apart. The gym was where I remembered God's strength. 

We named our baby Nathan which means gift from God because the experience of losing him helped my husband and I to realize how short our time on Earth is and how much we have to do for the kingdom of God. It helped us to draw closer together and to learn to fight together not to fight each other. Every year on this date I do a back squat workout even though last year I was only two months post c-section and this year I am eight months pregnant. February 24th will always be a hard day, it will always be painful but I workout to remember to breathe.

Whatever you are going through, whatever is happening in your life, God loves you. He is always there, waiting for you to invite him. If you need help, or you want to know more about God's strength please don't hesitate to contact us here at Farr Fitness. Strength and conditioning is great, but nothing is better than the love of Jesus Christ.