The Era of Sisyphus is Over
A friend of mine gave me a very large tire so I could roll it up and down the slope in my yard. I was inspired by the show, “The Biggest Loser”. I’m not much of a TV watcher, but occasionally I’ll sit upstairs as my wife watches and I can write, or read, or do nothing. “The Biggest Loser” is a show that catches my attention more than most. It is inspiring to see people hitting a goal they set for themselves, or your heart breaks when they fall short and they have to make a choice to either give up or keep striving toward their goals. Some of the exercises they do involve a very large tire. They flip it over many times, they hit it with a sledge-hammer, they step or jump up onto it repeatedly. “I can do that,” I thought, and asked my friend if he had a tire. He wanted to know why and I told him. He laughed and said I wanted to play Sisyphus in my own backyard. Since then, my workouts with the tire have been off-and-on. There are weeks I consistently get up and work out, then months go by without the tire moving.
Today I was out in my yard striving with the thorn trees that continually spring up here and there in the places I don’t normally mow. When we bought this house four years ago, almost half of the yard was given over to the wild; our yard is 1.8 acres, so it is a significant change from the .18 acres I was use to in Salt Lake City. Over the years I have fought it back with push mowers, rakes, shovels, riding mowers, large trimmers, tractors and brush-hogs. The wild area now just takes up one small corner of the yard. This year I have gone out and hand-cut these 1-2 inch thick trees down with a pruning saw that has been in my possession since it was at my parents house over 30 years ago; I think it still has the same blade. They don’t make them like that anymore. Last time I was out there cutting trees, it was so hot and humid, I could only cut down about three sections: around 9 trees. Being a 45-year-old overweight man who can’t consistently push a tire around his yard, I quickly wearied myself. There was many more sections that I wanted to finish up before I came back in the house. After cutting about 5 trees down, I began to feel light-headed and took longer breaks in between cuttings. I prayed to God that he would give me strength to finish this job because He equips the called. I reasoned that I was called to finish this job, this goal, and He would make it so. At one point I was so weary, my vision started going grey around the edges and I didn’t want to pass out where I was, because of the poison ivy and bugs all around in this wild area. I quickly stood and half ran, half stumbled to a semi-clear area and threw myself on the ground. Finally, when lying, what I imagine to be a tick and chigger infested ground, became more terrifying than my weariness I rolled over and slowly finished the job.
Going through my mind was the frustration at how quickly I wanted to give up. I thought about the tire in my yard and how long it has stayed in one place. I thought about my job and how it is so much like being Sisyphus; I’m pushing this rock up a hill and it just goes back down, and I have to do it all over again with 8 people telling me 20 different ways to get the rock back up the hill. Well now more, sir; no more! It is done. I am done being a Sisyphus in my health and in my job. I have had some very fuzzy goals when it has come to them both. Well, that is over too. I’m done talking about how much I need to finish my resume. I’m done talking about how much I need to get consistent with my health. I need to set goals and strive for them. When I meet an obstacle, I must consider what must be done to get around it; and stop letting it let me give up quick flash in a hurry.
Take my writing for instance: This is my hobby and I let so many things get in my way to write down what I think needs to be said or shared or disseminated. I make excuses about others motivations and see no point in going on, but my point is to get better, to know myself more and to share that with you; being that I am the rebel that I am.
I’ve had a hobby of eating better and I have, except for the time that I suck down a whole bags worth of Dorito’s at a potluck, or guzzle that “last” Dr. Pepper because I desperately needed it.
Talk is cheap. Sometimes so is writing. I can write about this until I’m blue in the face. My goal this week is to finish my resume, finish a consistent beginning to a new workout, and stop drinking soda. If you are reading this, please let me know on that one site. I’m going to set a calendar date for next week, then I’ll let you know how I did, then start it all over again. Habits are built on repetition, and, most importantly for me, can not be done with out God. I have written recently about our freedom we have and that when we condemn ourselves it is of no use. This week it has been a focus for me. I have failed and almost instantly, I condemn myself, but I deny that this is not of the Lord, and it is not me sinning again but just myself displaying characteristics that goes against who I am in Christ. It is sin, but, I can’t continually condemn; that is of the devil. I need goals, encouragement, and just to stop condemning myself.
The era of Sisyphus, struggling and failing over and over again is done. Thank you God for revealing everything as a gospel story, and giving me the strength to be the man I need to be, for my wife, for my family, for my church family and co-workers. I need you every day.