Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sweat Inspiration

Janjanmom told me this week that I inspire her. I think that’s a supreme compliment, better than “You certainly don’t look 43 years old” or “Gee, your butt seems much smaller these days”, although I wouldn’t take a pass on those compliments. Our exchange made me think about the people who inspire me. Lots of folks inspire me: family, friends, historical figures and famous women. As I get older I find that the people who inspire me most are right under my nose, and they very often don’t know they have touched me in an important way.

One such person is a complete stranger. He doesn’t know me, probably hasn’t even seen me, but I’ve seen him…a lot. I first noticed this gentleman about two years ago. He was walking along the busy highway that runs through my community. He was very overweight. He moved slowly, sweating profusely. He appeared to be walking for exercise and was huffing and puffing his way down the road. Good for him, I thought. I hope he sticks with it. He did. In the months that followed I often saw him trudging along that same highway. One day I realized he looked a little slimmer. Eventually, I noticed he was walking much easier. He was getting more fit. I saw him sweat through the humid summer months, sweat through our humid fall, bundle up during the winter and bust out the short sleeves in the spring. I saw him get slimmer and slimmer…and faster. He began walking with purpose, pumping his arms and picking up his feet. He traded in his old tennis shoes for quality walking shoes. He became the incredible shrinking man. I got excited every time I saw him.

This past Saturday I saw him again and wanted to roll down the window and give him a big shout out. He was….running…yes, running. I felt compelled to pull over and give me a big bear hug, but that would have scared him to death and possibly resulted in some kind of assault charge against me, so I refrained. But I was cheering inside because he was a fraction of his former self and moving faster than ever…so much faster than when he started. I would guess that he’s lost at least 75 pounds. Hubby thinks it’s more like 100. Whatever it is, it’s wonderful. Sometime a couple of years ago he made a deal with himself…and he kept it. I’m sure there were many days when the weather was bad or he just didn’t feel like getting out there, but he did anyway. After months and months of hard work, he is getting his payoff. I love that guy. He reminds me that I have no reason not to get out there and exercise and for that I am grateful. He also reminds me of how persistence, time and hard work can yield great rewards. He inspires me, and one of these days I may just stop and tell him.


Amy said...

What a nice story! Oh, Hula, stop and tell him. That would make his day and encourage his soul.:)
I have lost a little over 100 pounds myself, and nobody (except my family) ever said anything to me until I reached the 100 pound mark. I know I could have used the encouragement.
Thanks for sharing that story with us today.:)
It inspired me.:)

janjanmom said...

I second that, Hula!! You must tell him. Be prepared though, I am sure your lives are connected in some way-in our sweet little small town.

Be the encourager that you are!!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I agree. Sometime, when the time is right, you must stop and tell him. It will live in his heart forever. What a great story to bear witness to.