Written by Jason St Cyr, PWW supporter and trip volunteer
It’s that time of year when everyone asks what you’re thankful for. My answer this year – I’m thankful that I get to choose when I suffer.
I was a runner and that passion has evolved into a love of endurance events, with my current favorite being triathlons. Late last year, I made plans to compete at Ironman Gulf Coast 70.3 in May with one of my cousins who is new to the sport. Thanks to covid, the race was postponed and seemed certain to be canceled. But on November 7, I was able to complete the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. Because I was expecting the race to be canceled, I was lazy with my training and was not properly prepared. I was disappointed that my cousin could not be there with me. Due to covid safety protocols, there was far less support along the course than normal, and I had a very odd start time. With all of these unusual circumstances, what should have been a fairly easy course became one of the more difficult races I’ve done. The hardest days provide the most joy at the finish line.
A few years ago, I was able to go to Haiti with Pure Water for the World. As part of our trip, we got to hike some of the trails that the locals use to gather their daily supplies. There were many challenges that day as well – the steepness of the climb, the unevenness of the trail, overgrowth, animals, etc. But, our arms were empty. The locals were carrying 50 – 100 lbs of water, awkward bundles of firewood, and other necessities, with multiple trips necessary to gather everything needed. Their course was just as much an endurance event as any course I have taken on.
For me, physical adversity is a hobby. For them, it is life. I can choose any excuse from an endless list (too hot, too cold, it’s raining, I just don’t feel like it, etc.) and take a day off. For so many others, skipping a day is not an option. Failure to complete these physically demanding tasks results in no water, no fire for heating and cooking, and other challenges that make life more difficult, if not impossible.
I’m grateful that I have the option to be lazy. If you share that same gratitude, then I challenge you to express it by helping to make someone else’s life a little easier. Let’s all give some from our excess to those in need. If you haven’t been on a service trip yet, please go. It will change your life. And you may just end up changing someone else’s life at the same time.