B was a Spartan (“Aroo!”). He wasn’t your typical He-Man kind of guy, but he loved finishing these races. It gave him a great sense of accomplishment and let him play in the dirt a bit, like a kid. I so enjoyed watching him do this. He wasn’t the fastest competitor, in fact, his goal was simply to finish and he always participated as part of a team. He’d walk and run and crawl under barbed wire. Friends would help him over walls and he would help friends over walls. He would carry heavy objects and trudge through mud pits, sometimes moving slowly and sometimes moving faster, but always moving forward.
The other day a friend of mine and I were talking about grief and she said, “the only way out is through.” It reminded me of the crowd of racers moving through the obstacles at the Spartan races. That’s the way of life too. Life is muddy and mucky and sometimes we can’t walk as fast as we’d like through the trenches. There are days when all we can do is crawl. The sludge and sweat can drip into our eyes and we can find it hard to see even a few feet ahead. There are moments when we have heavy burdens and we need friends to help us climb over walls. The trick to getting through it, though, is to keep moving forward…inch by inch, step by step, mile by mile. It is possible to do it alone, but why would we do that when we can have teammates with us? We lean on each other and the burdens become lighter and there is merriment and fun along even the toughest, muddiest path. Sure, we get nicks and bruises and sometimes real injury along the way, but there is joy and laughter and comraderie too. And together there is a greater sense of accomplishment at the end, because we also helped each other through as we traveled along the road.