9 flights of stairs doesn’t sound like much right?
9 down and 9 up.
Most people fly through it. It is the 9 plus that gets them.
Today I stood at the bottom of a stairwell and listened to breath.
The panting rasp of someone with the lungs I have.
The laboured inhalation of someone with the fitness level of an overweight rock.
It used to embarrass me – the thought of someone hearing me breath heavily. The idea that I would be judged and found wanting. It is why I never did sport at school. The sound and the jiggle and the red face and the sweat. And yes, the coming last.
Children can be cruel. But sometimes, we are our own worst tormentor.
So today, I stood at the bottom of a stairwell, 40 minutes into a seriously hard gym session. A gym session full of the things I thought I couldn’t do.
I listened to breath.
And I thought –
How Blessed is that sound?
How Joyous is that sound?
How many times has that sound meant something else?
How many times has that sound been accompanied by panic, because I just couldn’t get enough breath?
How many times has that sound, slightly twisted, echoed around a hospital room – for weeks on end?
You feel free to judge me all you want.
The breath. The sweat. The red face. The jiggle. The coming last.
Until you hit a wall one day, and breath becomes a thing you actually have to think about….
The breath is what matters.
So who gives a crap if I came last?
At least I took part.
At least I was there.
Sometimes, when breath is all you have, that is where your Hope and determination lies.