The picture above is of my Grandfather, the namesake of my father and I, and one of the biggest inspirations in my life. The photo was taken as he was on the last leg of his IronMan race in Kona, HI in October of 1983 as he pushed to the finish line, roughly six months before I was born. For those unfamiliar with the Ironman, it consists of a 2.4 mile open ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile bike loop, and ending with a marathon at 26.2 miles of running.
Growing up and spending a lot of time with my grandparents in my lower and middle school days, my Grandpa was more akin to Superman than Iron Man to me, but it always held my fascination with him having that title. As I got older and played sports, I found myself interested in and playing a lot of the same sports he did as a youth. Eventually, the "bug" bit me and during grad-school I tried my hand at some small endurance races including my first sprint-triathlon. Suffice to say it was a rude awakening for my body, but even more so for my mind. The training had served as a nice break from my counseling studies and internship, and pushed me to my limits. And as happens to many budding triathletes, when the race was done I was already thinking about the next one. Through all of the tips and tricks my Grandpa shared with me, one still sticks out today: "If your body can take you half-way, your mind can do the rest."
As I got older, got married, landed jobs, changed jobs, had a kid, and another, and another, and have faced plenty of challenges through and in-between, I often gravitate back to this pearl of wisdom. If anything, the last eleven months have shown us that unlike my optimistic hopes back in March of 2020, this time of pandemic, strife, and perpetual change has become more of the "new abnormal" than we expected. My own father's encouragement "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon" has been ringing in my ears for most of 2020 and the new year. Many of us have weathered the uncertainties of Covid-19, lack of access to loved ones, online meetings and school, uncertainty of jobs and the future, and the list goes on.
So how do we keep going? How do we push forward, or at least fall forward? How do we pick one another up along the way, metaphorically (physical distance, Covid, I know...)? I think it starts by slowing down from the barrage that is the everyday "new abnormal" to take some deep breaths. We can "reframe" our thinking patterns, engage our bodies, and dig deeply into prayer and "quiet" times. I hope these and the other ideas and resources in this issue of the ECN bring you some encouragement and hope. We are almost through an entire year of Covid, and vaccines are going out! We have made it over halfway through the school year, and Spring Break is on the horizon! Halfway...So let's Dig Deep Eagles, pick each other up or carry one another if we have to, and LET'S FINISH THIS RACE! RISE UP! GO EAGLES!!!
Gary Prindiville is the school counselor and a middle school theology teacher at Prince of Peace Christian School and Early Learning Center in Carrollton, TX. Visit the Contact page for more information.
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