Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Triumph Over Tragedy

TragedyAn event causing great suffering, destruction, 
and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural 

We have all been touched by tragedy in some form. Whether it is something you have experienced personally or someone close to you has had tragedy strike in their lives, I think the initial human reaction is to be angry, cry, lash out and ask why. It leaves us confused, lost and grief stricken. 

Watching my mum die from cancer was devastating. I was 18 years old and felt like my world had caved in on me. I was brought up in a Christian home with values that I hold dear. But at the time, I was so lost and angry at God and felt like the one thing I had clung to my entire life had left me high and dry. After losing my mum I went through other struggles within our family and on my own personal level. I chose to be angry and I let it define who I was for a long time. I chose to use my grief as an excuse for my actions. 

That is the thing about tragedy and grief. We have the power to CHOOSE how we move forward with our lives. We have the ability to learn from our experience and move in to the next chapter of our lives with our heads held high. It is up to us to take what we are given and turn tragedy in to triumph and be better because of it. Of course it is normal to have a time for grief, but at some point you have to make the right choice, deal with the issues and move forward in your life. 

On Friday night I had the privilege and honor to meet Abby Rike and hear her speak at a church in Bellevue, Washington. For those of you who do not know who Abby Rike is or what her story is, you can click HERE to read a little about her story. For those of you too lazy to click and read for yourself, here is the Readers Digest version: In October 2006 Abby lost her husband, 5 1/2 year old daughter and 2 1/2 week old baby boy in a tragic car accident. Abby's journey to healing led her to the Biggest Loser in which she was a contestant on Season 8. If you watched that season, you know that Abby gripped the hearts of all who watched this sweet woman try to reclaim herself, her life, and her health after a tragedy that so few of us can imagine. Abby lost 100 pounds and now spends her time travelling the country as a motivational speaker sharing her story and her heart.

The minute I learned Abby was going to be speaking close to me, I knew I wanted to attend. What I didn't know was the impact that night would have on me. It would be unfair to try and put into words the gratitude I have towards her. Having watched Abby on the Biggest Loser and read her book Working It Out beforehand, I knew I was going to enjoy every second of listening to her. She did not disappoint. What a blessing she is. 

 - I learned that courage was not the absense of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear - Nelson Mandela

While reading Abby's book, one of the first lessons I took to heart was to stop allowing fear to control me. In regards to weight-loss, I have let fear be in charge for way too long. I have been afraid to go to the gym, join a work out class of some sort or even run in my neighborhood because I am afraid of being made fun of. I am afraid of doing it wrong or failing. I think it is time I get over it. If Abby and the rest of the past and present Biggest Loser contestants can go on national television and bare their souls and stand on a scale every week in a sports bra and spandex shorts then surely I can go for a run in my own neighborhood. As long as I am afraid and worry what those around me will think or say then I will never move forward in my own journey to better health. 

In her book she writes, "a weight-loss journey is about losing so much more than physical weight. In order to become truly healthy, in all areas of your life, you are changed. It's not that you change your personality; you do however become the best version of yourself."

How true is this? I think so many times people who are overweight think if they just lose the weight then all will be good. We can't overlook why we got here in the first place. People don't get fat for fun.

I firmly believe we all have a purpose and path in this life. Sometimes we need to endure the heartbreaking reality of life to find our purpose and live out our truth. I know for me it is about time I do this for myself. It is time I stop sitting around wishing the weight away instead of working hard for it. It is time I open myself up to my current journey, learn from it, be better and use it for good. That is exactly what Abby did. While her story of losing her family is heartbreaking, her story of her faith and her triumph over tragedy should inspire us all to make the changes we need in our lives. 

"Even in your darkest hour, there is always hope" -- Abby Rike

I am thankful Abby has chosen this path in her life. Her faith in God and her determination to reclaim her life inspires me and pushes me. The timing of being able to see her speak could not have been more perfect. It was just the push I needed. 

Who inspires you? Who makes you want to make a difference? 

1 comment:

QueenieCarly said...

I will admit it: I didn't click the link. Not because I don't want to, but because I am trying to get caught up and get some sleep before te beginning of another week. That doesn't mean that I won't come back and read it later. In fact, I probably will. Abby sounds extremely inspiring! (We both know that inspiration is what I am constantly striving for, though not necessarily on the topic of weight loss.)

I had never watched the Biggest Loser until this week. While staying with me and recovering, Kevin flipped to it a few times and he really likes it. I definitely see more episodes in my future... ;)