I know, I said my next post was going to be about the new goals that I am setting. But first a quiz.
What animal is standing in less than an hour after birth and nursing shortly there after?
What animal has gangly legs and looks totally awkward running?
What animal, when it is born, is 6 ft tall and weighs in at about 100 lbs?
If you guessed this little one from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina, you would be correct.
Now, what pray tell, does a giraffe have to do with a fitness/health/personal growth blog, you may ask?
For me it has everything. Grab a glass of ice water or a cup of herbal tea (because we are getting more and more health conscious around here) and I will explain.
Growing up, believe me or not, I was a skinny kid – a painfully skinny kid. You know the Flat Stanley thing that kids send out to friends around 2nd grade? Well, I could have fit in the envelope, no problem. Turned sideways I was basically non-existent. But I was a TALL skinny kid – all knees, elbows and feet, which took forever to learn how to control. My given name means “full of grace”. My parents had to be thinking spiritual grace, because heaven knows it was NOT physical! Add to that a complexion that burns just at the word “sun”, and fine, straight, fly-away platinum blonde hair and you get a pretty good picture of what I looked like. Given my lack of physical coordination during elementary school I was routinely covered in scrapes and bruises, usually because my arm or leg just did not go the way it was supposed to go. Do I really need to say that athletics were not really my thing? I was always the last kid picked when teams were chosen (which is why I refuse to let kids pick teams when they are playing at my house). There were times I was pretty sure that they just kind of wished I would choose not to play by the time it came time to pick me, even if it meant their team was going to be down a player.
As I got older I got into ballet which helped my coordination a bit. But I was still not athletic, I was still very skinny, and I still had hair that just hung there when it was not going 8 different ways. When I got old enough to get a job other than babysitting, my manager would not let me wait any tables until I had dropped 3 things. After I had dropped those 3 things he considered me “safe” and would send me out on the floor. Lest you think he was picking on me, I admit that I actually dumped a full pitcher of Pepsi on some poor guy as I tried to pour the drinks. After that was when the 3 drop rule was instituted!
One day, being very miserable at how poorly I could handle things physically, I was channel surfing. Remember, I grew up when there were only about 10 channels on cable, and came across Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Anyone remember that show? Better yet, can anyone still sing the jingle? Anyway, back to the story. I was watching this pathetically uncool show when they showed the giraffe. It was a stately creature. It moved gracefully among the trees. Then it got thirsty and had to contort itself to get it’s head down to the water. Not long after, as it went with those types of shows, a predator tried to attack and the poor thing had to run. I was fascinated that something looked even more goofy trying to run than I did! Thankfully it did outrun it’s foe and once again resumed it’s sedate munching of acacia leaves. That is when the camera zoomed in and the giraffe turned it’s head and looked straight at the camera. I was totally lost in those eyes. If something that faced that many natural body challenges could look that calm, it had to have it’s act together. From that moment on, the giraffe became my hero. I wanted to be stately and regal as I overcame obstacles, and radiate the same calm and peace that flowed from those eyes. Ummm…….well, as you have probably figured out, I am still not there.
But I watched this little creature come into the world last night.
It laid there, after dropping 6 feet onto a sawdust covered floor. It laid there for quite awhile. It was catching it’s breath, learning that it could move in this new environment. Before long this little creature raised it’s head, perched on this long, skinny neck and peered around. Head wobbling, ears twitching, it searched, trying to get it’s bearings. Within 15 minutes it was attempting to stand. Up on 2 legs, only to not understand gravity and center of balance, and fall flat. But the head and neck were no longer wobbling. Graceless and ungangly, it finally pushed itself onto it’s hoofs. Moment by moment the limbs became stronger and the step more sure.
Now it was ready to take it’s place in the tower (fancy name for a herd of giraffes). It has a lot to learn. It will require help and guidance. But as it grows it will mature into a full member of the tower, and will in turn help and guide others. It will be able to look out over the land with those peaceful eyes and know it’s place in the world.
Ok, so maybe it won’t know it’s place and won’t think any further than it’s next meal. I got a bit carried away. But the last year for me has been like the first hour of this little giraffe’s life. I have been learning things about myself, many times by falling flat on the mat like my little furry friend. I have twitched my ears as I have listened for guidance for my life. I have figured out how to stand up and navigate my way around. But I still have a long way to go – physically, emotionally and spiritually. But one day I will be able to stand regally, help another, and look out on the world with peaceful eyes. In the mean time I will set smaller goals. I will continue to go to the dojang and sweat and laugh at myself. I will continue to learn how to control my blood sugars and life a healthy life style. I will continue to journal, and read my Bible, and pray. And I will continue to set more goals and blog about them to keep myself accountable.