Flex

When I was able to opt out of high school P.E. by taking a business co-op class, I thought that the awkwardness of forced athleticism was behind me. Unfortunately, I went to A&M and discovered that the required “core curriculum” included four hours of P.E. credits. The first class I took was step aerobics , which I really enjoyed by pretending that the aerobics routines were actually synchronized dance steps, and that I was in the background of some cool music video. Less enjoyable was a series of physical fitness tests such as a mile run, sit-ups, push-ups, and flexibility.

Yes, flexibility. We had to sit (with the whole class watching) with our feet flat against the side of a wooden box, and reach down past our toes to a mark three inches past the edge. I still remember my embarassment when my instructor K.B. called out to the class-volunteer secretary that I could not even reach my toes. My memories have all come rushing back as I’ve been attending my new Pilates class, which involves lots of stretching and laying with one leg sticking straight (as if!) into the air.

When I shared my experience with my sister Laurashmaura, she said that she also has inflexible muscles, which means I can build my case for the mother of all excuses: genetics.

But as I’ve been complaining to various people about this, I’ve heard my own voice repeatedly declaring “I’m just not flexible!,” and it’s forced me to confront the fact that this is really true of my life in ways that are deeper than hamstrings.

It’s the time of year on the school calendar when we start to look ahead to next year. I’m getting questions like, “Would you be willing to teach a different grade next year? Move to another classroom? Re-organize your class schedule? Take on some new responsibilities?” Stre-e-e-tch.

Or, even worse, with my husband’s professional life in transition, “Would you be willing to sell your new house? Move to a new church? In a new town? Move so far away from your job that you can’t commute? Start your life over somewhere else?” Stre-e-e-e-e-e-e-tch, and at times, snap! Those are the times that you can feel bad for Stephen.

They say that the way to become more flexible is to just stretch a tiny bit further every day. When it comes to touching my toes, consider it done! I’ll be making beautiful large leg circles by spring break. When it comes to flexing my life…well…I’ll have to let you know how that goes.

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6 responses to “Flex

  1. Stretching…ouch! I went to my first yoga class last week. It involved more stretching than I have done since the ballet I took for my “pe” credit in college. We had to do this thing where we lay down and put our legs over our head until our toes touch the floor. My body was shaking as my legs tried to stretch that far! Good illustration to life. God only seems to give us enough information for the moment. If he had told me when I started college that I would end up spending a summer in Turkey and move to Dallas, I would have been a bit freaked out! So now he is letting you stretch your mind to possibilities and then he may or may not make your body actually stretch later. Love yall!

  2. Yes, flexibility seems to be an ongoing life lesson as we encounter, embrace, resist, and adapt to change.

    Change is often good, but we never like it. Wonder why?

    Even though I have dreamed of working for the church for two years, changing doesn’t excite me. In my current job, I at least know what’s expected of me. And with a schedule with “more flexibility,” will I really remain productive and accountable?

  3. You are not alone. And that’s a great comparison to making life changes.

    I think the reason I haven’t really been searching hard for a writing job is because I’m scared of what might come. I’m comfortable. I have a good job now, not doing what I want, but it’s a good, stable job. S and I are happy in Waco, happy with the great friends we have here, and just comfy in our spot.

    So I feel your pain in possibly having to shift when everything seems right.

  4. what’s really funny is if you lay on your back holding your toes and try to make your legs go straight. HA. My legs are at almost a 90 degree angle, if that’s possible.

  5. i really do think that it must be genetic. i am not flexible at all either. even when i was in gymnastics, i could never do the splits. and so this is why i am kind of a wierd cheerleader.

  6. I have found that God forces us to change when He’s ready to take us to a new place of faith in Him. It’s scary, it’s unpleasant, and it’s totally worth it!

    So pray for flexibility in all areas of our lives!

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