73“I felt like I was forgetting how to smile at the little things and that I wasn’t honoring my personal commitment to 24-7 happiness.” Mara Abbott, Pro Cyclist, on rekindling joy
Our sport is full of hard and unhappy moments: lonely miles in harsh conditions, disappointing results, injury, sickness, rivalries, financial pressures, growing pains, doping demons, imbalance via compulsion. Our happiness may be affected by many uncontrollable variables, and some unhappy consequences we’ve brought upon ourselves.
As we enter into a holiday of exchanging gifts, celebration, and reunions, let us bring to mind the joys of cycling. Joy isn’t dependent upon circumstances, feelings, or outcomes. It is an inner quality. Like a refreshing wellspring, sometimes it cascades easily over the peaks of life; and sometimes in a sun-scorched valley, joy only trickles in bittersweet drops. Despite circumstances, recall victories, recount positives; commemorate small beginnings, fractional progress, new opportunities.
Learn from a young cycling sensation’s rise into the pro ranks. Hired as a domestique, she raced several years steadily making progress but perpetually aloof, unhappy. One ordinary day, she was directed to attack and instead of the usual set-up for her team leader, the move stuck giving her a decisive win. It was the first time I saw her smile. Suddenly she was transformed into a person of warmth, radiant and relaxed.
It’s sad to think we wait for these fleeting moments to share the inner contentment that flows within us. Knowing that all things worth having are gained or maintained mostly with difficulty, joy must be drawn from a constant stream of gratitude for what’s noble and of good report.
In the spirit of the season, take a trip to the wellspring of joy and celebrate your successes, rejoice with others over their victories, smile at the future – take this gift with you and sparkle in every circumstance!
Prayer for Joy
“… like a champion rejoicing to run his course…” 74Psalm 19:5
We are thankful that we have many reasons to be happy. We confess we judge ourselves and others by human doing, rather than as human beings. We ask to recollect joy no matter what we suffer.
Ponder Can I rejoice always? Affirm I am happy with what IS, even while recognizing the need for more or better. Watch for ways to turn your miles into smiles.
73“Rekindling the Sparkle,” by Mara Abbott in US Women’s Cycling Development Program diary entry January 12, 2008 www.cyclingnews.com
The cyclist referred to in this section is not Mara Abbott- who seemed to be born smiling. Rather, the cyclist referred to here, who finally smiled, went on to other bigger victories after this, hit a slump and returned to former sad countenance eventually losing her contract. I hope she remembers joy that transcends all circumstances!
74The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society