I taught a 5:50 am class this morning.
And as I walked from the subway to the studio in the Flatiron District, this is what I saw.
A quiet, peaceful, slumbering city.
An unprecedented moment of stillness in the city that never sleeps.
It was magical, actually.
And I am quite impressed by people who take class BEFORE six am.
Because, believe me, you wouldn’t see me in a class at that hour.
Unless, of course, I am the one teaching it.
It’s amazing what we humans can do. I am continually impressed by our resilience and rise-above-ability, when we choose it.
There is a woman who came into my class the other day with a prosthetic leg. There are people who don’t do much with their two whole legs; and here is this woman who won’t let something like that keep her from living the life she wants.
Another woman came into the studio the other day and asked to speak to an instructor. She was young, maybe twenty-five or so.
“I just finished my last chemo treatment,” she said, lowering her voice so as not to let the world in on such a big fact before they even know one little fact.
“Congratulations on finishing, ” I told her, matching her quiet volume.
“My doctor cleared me to exercise, and I am so excited…”
“Of course you are–that’s fantastic.”
And then we talked about what kind of exercise would best suit her, and if Fly Barre was a contender.
And there it is again. That resilience. That fighting spirit. That desire to survive–the will to move on, to take the one half stale lemon we’re left with and, by God, turn it into the best and most sought-after lemonade the world has ever seen.
It’s good because we’ve poured our heart and soul into it. Because it can’t be bought at the grocery store, nor is it a powder that can be mixed with water and served in a jiff. No, this lemonade was made with years that we will never get back. It tastes so sweet right now because we drank all the bitterness, leaving none. Drank it down, and then found that we were still alive, and nobody was more shocked by this then us. We cried tears that we thought nobody saw or cared about; then we read somewhere that God cares about them, puts them in a bottle, even. Didn’t know there were bottles that big; didn’t know that tears are used to make some sweet, sweet nectar, given the right mix of time and grace. Thought they were nothing but a side effect of the bitter pill we had swallowed. Excessive tears at night, the bottle had read. This is normal, the therapists had said.
Which is why we smile inside when people ask us for our lemonade. When they see us pour ourselves out and marvel at any and all beauty that pours out, too. Because we know the truth. They see just a little bit of the story. They taste the wine without seeing all the perfect grapes first trampled by a thousand feet. But you cannot have one without the other, it seems. And so we learn resilience and trust that the arc of the story will swing up, always up, and the lemonade will come once again, from the lemon we find in our lap.