Wednesday, October 31, 2012

That's You

“That’s you, Pop-Pop.”
“That’s you,” my granddaughter said again as she pointed to a picture in one of triathlon magazines.
“It is?” I was amazed. She was showing me a picture of one of my favorite pro triathletes with arms raised, crossing an Ironman finish line.
Again, “that’s you, Pop-Pop.” A feeling of sadness crept in upon me. Only in my dreams, I thought.
“I love you for saying that, but that is someone else.”

I didn’t tell her, of course, that crossing that Ironman finish is now only a dream of mine; only a vision of myself as I would be, if it were possible; if I could. Revisiting a lost dream brought me down just a bit. Here I am, with the opportunity passed, wasted if you will, in my late sixties; a little old to be an Ironman rookie. That picture my granddaughter was looking at was of a younger athlete, who lined up and realized his dream. Of course, my granddaughter sees me differently than I see myself. She has seen me swim, bike, and run since before she could walk. Of course, she has this larger-than-life view of me. Her vision is a child’s vision. It is just not real. Or is it? Perhaps she sees me, as the song says, “not as I am but how I could be?” Perhaps, in her naiveté, her innocence, her lack of prior assumptions, she does indeed see the reality that my preconceptions won’t let me see? Perhaps, God is trying to tell me something through the love and admiration of a child?

“That’s you, Pop-Pop,” she said again softly.
“You may be right,” I finally conceded.

Over the next few days, the limited vision of myself began to free itself from the mire. Courage slowly began to outweigh fear and doubt. Obedience began to replace the false security of giving up on a dream. A fresh wind blew in upon my soul as my expanded vision looked toward embracing the journey and the adventure. Maybe I am too old, but I am not too old to try. Maybe I can’t be that Ironman finisher that my granddaughter sees me to be, but I can try to be. And, just maybe I will be. I have been called to attempt this, no doubt. There is no other good choice but obedience, no matter. I prayed. I prayed hard. When I went to my computer, I became a little short of breath. I signed up for Ironman Texas It is crazy, I know, but I must at least line up in obedience for the chance to be that man in my picture, to try to be that finisher in my granddaughter's eyes. That’s me. She was right.