After reading an entry from Baron Batch Blog I learned that the rookie who captured the backing of Steeler Nation with his now famous 'Back on 'Backers drill against James Harrison is cleared from his ACL injury he suffered in camp. To most of you this is probably not news now as this came out about a week ago. However what I wanted to share was one of the thought most provoking and entertaining short story I have read about the obstacle of the rehab process. The following is from Baron Batch blog and they are his words. I encourage you to regularly visit the site as he has some very interesting posts. This story is a little lengthy for this forum but I promise you'll enjoy the read.
A Storm is Coming-
Since my injury I have spent a lot of time with my leg propped up with ice on my knee. Before the doctors perform surgery they want to get the swelling down, so for the past week I haven’t moved around a whole lot. Needless to say I have had a lot of time to sit and think, just my thoughts and I.
On a deserted island my thoughts and I sit, with a small coffee table in the middle of a forked trail with two paths. There is a kettle of coffee in the middle of the rickety warped wooden table where 3 coffee mugs sit in front of 3 old wooden chairs. Above the skies are filled with dark clouds. The smell of rain fills my nostrils and I can taste the saltiness of the air. A beach is near. I can hear the distant crashing of the waves and the wind is beginning to whip across my face. I can see the brilliant flashes of lightning jumping from earth to sky, dancing across the clouds while speaking in a thunderous voice that I cannot understand, but I know what it says.
From the skies the lightning speaks with thunder distantly proclaiming.
“A storm is coming”
My thoughts and I sit at the rickety coffee table, just the three of us with only a kettle of coffee for separation. Across from me sit two beautiful women; actually the word beautiful doesn’t suffice, beautiful is an understatement. These women are mesmerizing, they are radiant, and they are hypnotic. They begin to introduce themselves to me. As the first begins to speak and extend her hand for an introduction she is interrupted by the second woman who shows a gleaming perfect smile and says, “ Hi Baron, my name is Doubt.”
Doubt is stunning. She has long red hair, and wears heavy makeup. Her eyes draw me in immediately almost as if she can peer into my soul and see my thoughts and fears. My heart begins to race as I can feel all of my anxieties and fears being drawn from my deepest depths to my surface. I begin to panic but can’t look away. She is too enticing.
I feel a gentle touch on my forearm and immediately my fears, worries and anxieties subside. I break away from Doubts gaze and look to my right to see an outstretched hand. I grab hold and another woman introduces herself to me.
“Hello Baron, I’m Faith”
Faith looks much different than Doubt but is just as gorgeous. Faith has long dark hair that flows over her shoulders. She wears a white dress and cowboy boots. She has glasses and doesn’t wear makeup because she has nothing to hide; her skin is flawless. Her eyes are calming but her touch is what is indescribable. There is nothing like touching Faith.
As I sit with Doubt, and Faith at the tiny wooden, rickety, and warped table with only a coffee kettle in between us I ask, “Why am I here?”
Doubt sits down her coffee mug with her thick red lipstick stuck to it and swallows before speaking.
“Look around you. Can’t you see that a storm is coming?” She says.
“Yes I can see that”
“Well you have to choose who you are going to set sail with” Doubt hastily replied.
“Set sail?” I ask?
“Yes set sail! The storm is coming and we have to hurry. If we set sail quick enough we can maneuver around the storm and escape this island, the path behind me leads to a safe place to depart and we can avoid the storm, but we have to hurry. You must decide quickly,” Doubt said with panic in her voice.
I begin to get nervous as I can see the colossal storm clouds moving closer to shore. I hear the increasing thunder and my heart begins to race.
I turn to Faith and ask, “Where does your path lead? Is it safe? Can we avoid the storm?”
Faith calmly replied “I cant tell you that, all I can assure you is that I can help get you through the storm and to the beach on the other side”
As I sit at the rickety coffee table just my thoughts and I, the storm clouds begin to surround me. I can feel the rain starting to fall gently on my skin. I can hear the thunderclouds billowing their warning.
“A storm is coming”
I know I must make a decision and make one quickly if I want to survive this storm. I look across the table at Doubt and Faith and both of them reach out their hands. I close my eyes and grab onto Faiths hand. She holds mine tight as we get up from the tiny wooden table and walk down the path that was behind her chair.
As Faith calmly leads me down her path that leads to the ocean the rain begins to pour, and the thunder begins to roar crying out, “A storm is coming, a storm is coming!”
While Faith and I walk hand in hand to the beach I ask “Where did Doubts path lead?”
“You’ll see.” She replied
Soon we emerge at the end of the path and I can see the ocean. I can also see the enormity of the storm. The storm stretches as far as I can see and I am terrified.
In my fear I turn back to run to Doubt. She said that knew how to avoid the storm. She said she knew a safe way of crossing. As I turn to go back I see the exit to another path that was not the one I came out of. On the exit of that path I see Doubt standing. Her makeup has washed off and she looked nothing like she did before. I call out to her over the roaring winds “You said you had a safer way! You said that we could avoid this storm.”
Doubt says nothing. She just stands at her exit glaring at me.
I turn back to Faith and cry out with tears in my eyes, “What do I do? I can’t face this storm.”
Faith says nothing. She only extends her hand. I run towards the ocean where she is standing by a small canoe. I look down with fear at the small canoe thinking “there is no way this will make it through this storm.”
The waves crash at our feet as Faith calmly says, “Get in and row, don’t stop until I tell you we are through the storm”
I’m terrified but I crawl into the tiny canoe with Faith. We begin to row. The waves toss us from left to right, and up and down but we keep rowing. The rain slaps our bodies but we keep rowing. The thunder proclaims from the clouds, “the storm is here!” But we keep rowing. My arms begin to tire, but we keep rowing.
We row for what seems like eternity and finally the rain slows, the waves calm and the thunder echoes behind us whispering, “The storm has passed.”
I turn to Faith exhausted from the journey and ask, “Why did Doubts path lead to the same place on the beach? I thought she said she could avoid the storm”
Faith simply shook her head and said “Storms aren’t sent so that we can avoid them or run from them.”
“Then why was that storm sent for me?” I asked.
“You’ll see.” Faith said.
As we keep rowing the storm calms more and more and we begin to approach another beach. On this beach I can see thousands of tiny dots, at first I can’t make out what they are but as we row closer I can see that they are people; thousands and thousands of people standing at the waters edge. As we get closer to shore I can see the seemingly endless amount of people standing in amazement watching us row out of the storm in the tiny canoe, just Faith and I.
I look at Faith and she smiles and says, “That’s why the storm was sent.”
“I don’t get it.” I tell her.
She says, “Do you see all those people? That storm was sent for them, but you are the one who had to sail through it. You are an overcomer. Because you are an overcomer your waters will rarely be calm. Because you are an overcomer your life will not be easy. Because you are an overcomer you will have to sail through storms simply so people can see that it’s possible. Because you are an overcomer you have no choice but to overcome.”
“Your storms are not for you. Your storms are not your own. “
Wednesday I will have surgery to fix my ACL. Since my season ending injury about a week ago I have realized that now more than ever I have to be strong. I have realized more and more that trials aren’t always to strengthen the person going through them, but more so to strengthen the people watching. Many times on the other side of the storm on the distant beach, there are people that will be in awe when they see you rowing out of the raging waters in your tiny canoe, with only Faith beside you.
My storms are not for me. My storms are not my own. I am an overcomer.
After 7 months of rowing I feel my little wooden canoe run aground onto the beach. With my last bit of energy I pull myself out of the small boat, and fall to the sand stomach first. Rolling over to my back I prop myself up with my hands looking back over the vast ocean that I has been navigated. Simultaneously I dig my toes into the cool sand and breathe deeply filling my lungs with air. A distinct aroma fills my nose. It is the smell that satiates the air after a storm has passed. It is the smell of ‘new.’
Immediately I am re energized.
The blisters on my hands are bloody from rowing, and stinging with the oceans saltiness. I can hear the billowing echoes and claps of thunder behind me, and beside me I hear a voice. A voice so softly soothing that for a moment the pain and stinging from my torn hands dissipates. The voice whispers to me, and she says.
“A storm has passed.”
The voice belongs to that of Faith, whom accompanied me on my journey through the heart of the storm. Over the last 7 months I have learned a lot about Faith, and she I. Our relationship has grown since I chose her hand over that of Doubt. While rowing through the storm I learned more about Faith than I could have ever imagined. She never left my side. When I tired? Not once did I turn and not see her beautiful face smiling at me simply saying,
“Row Baron, don’t stop. Whatever you do, don’t stop. You are strong enough.”
So I would row. Day after day I would row, with wind and rain whipping at my face. Month after month I would row with blisters that formed and covered the palms of my hands bursting, and then forming again. Pulling at the oars to power the canoe through the rough dark waters, my back and arms would tire. And when they did, Faith’s voice was always present whispering….
“Row Baron, don’t stop. Whatever you do, don’t stop. You are strong enough.”
So I would row. Learning more and more about Faith with each row of the oars, each time I would tire, and in ever blister that formed… and she I.
After rowing for several months there came a place where I became weary and decided Faith should take the oars and row. I begged and pleaded telling her.
“I have nothing left, please row me the rest of the way. I cant do it.”
Faith replied. “If you quit you will die here. I can’t help you. If you are willing to quit I can no longer help you on this journey. I am not here to row for you; I am here to encourage you to row. I am here to get you safely through the storm, but you must row. I’m here to reassure you that you have the strength it takes to make it through this storm, but I can’t row for you Baron.”
So I took the oars in my blistered hands and began rowing with strength I didn’t think existed.
Then and there I finally realized what Faith meant. I finally realized her meaning.
Faith was not there to help me row my canoe through the storm. In fact she was incapable of taking an oar in her hands at all. Faith was simply there to tell me that I was strong enough to make it the entire way. She was there to tell me not to quit. She was there to show me strength I didn’t think existed.
In a storm if you choose to quit rowing the consequence is simple.
Faith cant save you. She can only reassure you of your own strength. And when you feel like you have nothing left, help you search for strength you didn’t think you had.
So 7 months later I have reached the shore that seemed so distant when I originally set sail.
I have finally been medically cleared from my injury. It wasn’t an easy journey by any means but it was definitely a beneficial one. I have learned and grown more than I would have imagined.
But this isn’t the finish line; it is simply the starting point.
So as I lay on the shore with my toes buried in the sand. I watch the 7-month storm dance slowly over the horizon two stepping out of my sight, and I think to myself…
“A storm has passed”
“I made it”
I look over to hug Faith but she is nowhere to be found. For the first time through the entire journey she is not by my side. I look around frantically for her, calling her name.
“Faith Faith!” I cry.
I hear no response.
I shakily stand to peek inside the canoe. But she is not there. I begin to panic as I slouch against the side of the canoe to gather my thoughts, as my heart races. As the shallow waves lap at my heels I run my hand over the tiny old wooden canoe and feel something with my fingers that I had never noticed.
It is an engraving in the wood. I quickly glance down to see what it says, and the engraving simply reads.
Then it dawns on me. Faith was never a woman in the canoe with me. Faith was the canoe. That’s why she said she couldn’t row for me. That’s why she said if I quit rowing I would die. Because once you make up your mind that you are going to quit, Faith can no longer serve you. Faith was my canoe to the distant shore. But in order for her to serve me I had to row, and never stop. I had to do my part. Faith is not one sided.
Through this injury I have come to the realization that I have been viewing Faith wrong for quite some time. I have always said, “Have faith.”
But I don’t think that’s the correct way of stating that.
If we possess faith like its something we own. What happens when we tire and decide to quit? What happens when the pain from the blisters becomes to great and we stop rowing? If we own faith… and end up drowning because our inability to persevere….
then faith drowns too. She sinks to the bottom right along with us.
I encourage you to let Faith have you. Let her encourage you. Let her guide and direct you. And above all else never stop rowing.