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What Keeps You Going?

Our lifestyles have changed greatly since the beginning of the worldwide pandemic. Prior to the pandemic we all had something that kept us in the game. We all had that one thing or things that kept us going. For me, it was my weekly training sessions with my personal training. Many of you may have viewed my weekly posts. Based on your comments, you all seemed to find great pleasure in watching me get pounded by my trainer! LoL! Seriously though, those workouts kept me balanced and were also a great stress reliever. Then the world shut down. The gym shut down. The very thing that kept me going, was gone. Now granted, I know what some of you may be thinking. “Ok, workout on your own at home.” True, but the discipline to do so at the same level of intensity, is not always there. The main point of a personal trainer is the accountability, and the push to get it down. In the absence of that, workouts waiver, intensity waivers, the next thing you know, I’m scratching my head trying to figure out when was the last time I worked out? It raised the question, what will it take to keep me going through this season? What will it take for me to not lose all that I have gained physically, simply because my accountability and motivation is gone? You can plug in whatever it was that kept you going. You can plug in the reasons that you may have waivered. So now we are all at the point of, ok, let’s figure this out.

We all come to the table with different experiences that shapes our perspective, self-discipline, and outlook. So therefore, we have to start from that vantage point. What will it take to implement self-discipline? What will it take to motivate you? I suggest a few things:

1. Stagnancy: Imagine yourself on the other side of this pandemic and you emerge in the same position or lesser position than you did prior to the pandemic.

2. Creativity: We have had a lot more flexible time where we can do some research and find out other creativity ways to do that thing that kept us going before the pandemic. For me, it has been taking the time to research natural foods and focused exercises that can strengthen certain areas that I desire to strengthen and tone. What and how can you do things differently in order to obtain optimal results?

3. Family and friends: Even though we may not have the opportunity to visit physically, we can reach out through technology. Prior to the pandemic, my schedule was so hectic. I had difficulty keeping up with family connections. I now make a point to reach out to at least 2 family members (aunties, nieces, nephews, etc.) per week. Not only do I reach out but I’m sure to have engaging conversations or video chats. I had discovered that since the world has slowed down, our conversations have been quite revealing. It’s amazing how you can learn so much about your extended family members. Previously your encounters were in passing and you didn’t’ really go into depth as to what has been occurring in their lives.

4. Spring Cleaning: Yes, I know, this may seem like a strange one. However, sometimes, in this process, we regain a new sense of self as we go through our belongings and we see how far we have come.

I recently posted an excerpt from my book that highlighted a near fatal car accident from years ago. Some criticize me for bringing it up every year, but it is an annual motivator that keeps me going. This is one of the rare occasions where recalling a past experience, can be a motivator. You may have heard the old church song “when I look back over my life, and I think things over, I can truly say, I’ve been blessed, I’ve got a testimony! Let me share this experience, that when I reflect on it and what could have been, I am motivated to do greatness daily.

Nov 10, 2004. I was on my way to Borders (a bookstore that was open at the time) to do some work on an assignment for my graduate class. Courtney (my youngest daughter) and her drums were normally with me that time of day. She had an afterschool practice, so she and her drums were still at school. This will be significant in a minute. I was about 3 blocks from the bookstore, at a stop light waiting for the light to change. I was in an older model Nissan Altima which was a relatively small-medium sized vehicle. Way in the distance I could see a vehicle approaching behind me but didn’t pay much attention. I assumed, they would slow down and stop behind me. They were moving at a high rate of speed, but who doesn’t on that particular parkway. It has been known to be the site of late night drag racing by fearless teenagers. A few seconds later I looked up again and saw the grill of a Yukon SUV coming through the back window of my car. Remember I mentioned that Courtney and her tenor drums (quads) were usually with me in the car?

I remember being banged and spun around like I was in the bumper car ride at the carnival. When the car finally came to a stop, by head felt like it was trying to explode! The pain was indescribable. I was struggling for coherency. I couldn’t move and was wondering where the water was coming from that was streaming down from the top of my head. I tried to wipe it away so I could see. My hands were completely red as I wiped the “water” away. I realized at that moment that I was bleeding profusely from my head (which was banging in excruciating pain). There was a lot of yelling and screaming from outside the car. Someone kept screaming “oh my God!” That scared me because I just knew one of my limbs must have been lying out on the pavement and that is why she was saying “Oh my God!”

Someone took hold of my hand that was covered in blood. All I remember was him saying his name (JT) and that everything was going to be alright. Never saw or heard that man again but I was so grateful for his calming effect. I honestly believe I would have gone into shock from the pain coming from my head. Also, the thought that I must have lost a limb, because the “oh my God” woman was on her 50th “oh my God!” Firemen were on top of the car cutting away the roof. My seat belt was cut off by a paramedic. A flat board was placed behind me and my head was strapped in a stationary manner. Amidst the loud drill of the “jaws of life,” the yelling and screaming, the sirens, a paramedic (and JT) were doing their best to keep me calm. I was in unbearable pain. Panic and shock were setting in. Pain shot through my body as they were trying to remove me from the car. I felt like I was going in and out of consciousness.

It was a cold November day and I recall the paramedics having to cut my clothes off so they could determine if I were bleeding elsewhere or what other injuries were present. I’m shivering on a stretcher in the middle of the street in nothing but my underwear. All I could think of was what your mama used to tell you “you better wear clean underwear in case you get in a car accident!” Why is Mama always right? My underwear was clean but my major concern at that moment was, “am I matching?” Did I put on a matching bra and panty set?!?!?!? Don’t judge me! Ladies, you know you would be thinking the same thing! LoL! Now THAT is a true “oh my God” moment! Fortunately……I did. It’s interesting, the things you think of in crisis. I think that is your mind’s way of survival. Distracting from the crisis at hand. I remember JT’s voice; he was very irritated! Saying to the paramedics “can’t you cover her up?” Someone eventually covered me, and I was placed into the ambulance. It was at that moment that my thoughts shifted from underwear to the realization that I did indeed have all my limbs. Then I got angry at that woman continuously screaming “oh my God!” What was she screaming about!?!? I had all my limbs! The reason behind her screams was later revealed.

It was not until a few weeks that I learned that my car was the first of 11 vehicles hit by that same SUV. The police report indicated the SUV hit the rear of my car at 85 mph. Insurance companies can be a bit insensitive at times. Since I was alone and in the midst of a divorce, I did not have my spouse to take care of certain things. Therefore, I had to find someone willing to take me to the junk yard to claim my car. Still broken, bandaged, dizzy and weak, I managed to get a ride to the junk yard. That was a long ride! Figuratively speaking as it was the first time I was in a car after the accident. Panic hit! Nausea and dizziness hit! Upon arrival, I visually searched for my vehicle as I couldn’t walk extremely far at all. As I looked, I could see the expression on the person’s face who gave me a ride to the junk yard. I was instructed to look to my right. As I did, I nearly collapsed. The entire back half of the vehicle was shattered. The roof was bent and caved in. The only part of the car that was somewhat in tack was the driver’s seat. The car was barely recognizable.

There is a saying that God places a hedge of protection around us. I associate a hedge with yard space. Hedges usually surround the property line of a home. God did not place a hedge of protection around me. He held me in the palm of His hands. The only part of the car that was not severely crushed was the driver’s seat where I was sitting. I always sat close to the steering wheel when I drove. The doctor said if my seat were further back, I would have been killed. I know without a doubt, God brought me through that near-death experience for a reason. This journey is part of that reason. I call that day my 2nd birthday. I vowed to spend each day, with the breath I am given, to speak life into others. To do what God has equipped me to do. To encourage you to do what God has equipped you to do. You see, God brings us through near death experiences or illnesses for a reason. He wants to show us that He always has us in the palm of His hand. We in turn must share the testimony so that others can experience the depths of His love, protection, and provision for us. No matter your circumstances. No matter how devastating, if you are living and breathing, that means God brought you through and has given you a testimony! Testify about His goodness! Testify about His love! Testify that with God, all things are indeed possible.

Sometimes it takes reflecting on a near death experience to keep us going. Sometimes it takes imagining what life can look like on the other side of our adversity. Whatever it takes, find what it is that can keep you going, and embrace the journey.

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