As I sat down this week to write I took a detour to check the latest “news” on Facebook. Flipping through numerous posts about ice bucket challenges, birthday posts for friends, college moving in pictures and more, one particular post stuck out. Staring back at me on the screen was a post written by my gym sister Angel. She had just completed 7.01 mile run. My heart was filled with pride for Angel knowing just how hard she has worked to get to this point and what an inspiration she is to so many.
Nearly 18 months ago I signed up at the local Anytime Fitness Center. Extremely overweight, out of shape and unhappy I would walk into the gym, climb up on the treadmill and suffer through 30 minutes of what felt like torture. In the beginning the gym was anything but fun for me; I found reasons not to go. I would make up excuses why I couldn’t go. After some emotional struggles and a lot encouragement from a friend one particularly difficult November afternoon I chose o hit the treadmill instead of the pantry: that afternoon I was hooked. It was during this time I began to allow myself to connect with people; to break down the wall I had built around myself.
One afternoon I noticed a young woman working with the head trainer. She seemed to be having a good time even though her workout was hard. I wondered what it was that pushed her to keep going. Over the next few weeks I learned her name and that she had lost a significant amount of weight. I wanted to meet Angel; she had become an inspiration to me from a distance; it was time to get to know her. We ended up at the storage cubbies together one evening; we introduced ourselves and shared a bit of our stories. I left that afternoon knowing that Angel was a special person; soon after we became social media friends, exchanged phone numbers and embarked on a friendship that has blessed me beyond words.
Angel’s larger than life personality invites you into her world without hesitation. With each step of my journey Angel is there sharing words of encouragement, inviting me to workout with her and sharing her enthusiasm for life. Her spirit ignites a hopeful spark in those who meet her. She never gives up and as a result has completed several races and is preparing for her biggest race in the fall. Size doesn’t matter to Angel meaning that she continues to fight the battle against her weight refusing to give up or give in. She is dedicated to achieving her goals knowing that with each step she takes she is improving her health not only for herself but for her husband, family and friends. Angel embraces the difficult stuff knowing that it’s the difficult stuff that makes her stronger; she’s even tried to convince me that those big heavy ropes are a good thing during our workouts. Somehow she knows just when I need an encouraging text; they just show up at the perfect time. Nothing seems to stop her from pushing forward.
With a passion for people and purpose Angel not only supports those around her but works diligently to promote the positives in her local community. Whether it’s supporting her beloved college team or the children’s hospital she lends her voice, time and talent to each cause. The world needs more Angel’s in it. If we all took a few minutes every day to follow her lead and reach out into our piece of the world we could make a difference. We should strive to brighten someone’s day, lend a helping hand, share a word of encouragement, a smile, go for a run or ride on the stationary bike at the gym or simply sit and talk. Being present in the lives of others is a vital part of living in community with one another; something I believe we are meant to do. Words cannot express just how grateful I am that my path crossed with Angel’s. She makes my world a better place to live in and whether she knows it or not she inspires me to be a better person.
I encourage you to look beyond your personal space and find a way to help others see the beauty in life. We’ve only got one shot at life in this world and I believe that together we can make a difference. Letting go of our selfish desires allows us to see the world more clearly and define our own purpose; our own reason for being who we are supposed to be.
The following quote by Indian author Ritu Ghatourey not only reminds me of Angel but should remind us all to live our best life. “Live life to the fullest and never ever look back, there is a reason for the future and a reason for the past. Love till it hurts and laugh till you cry and when your life flashes before you, make it worthwhile. Be happy for what you have done, and be happy for what you have overcome, and most of all always be proud of what you have become. “ Thank you sweet Angel for being who you are….my friend, my inspiration.
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I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!