You Just Lost Your Last Excuse

What would it look like for you and me to see every movement as an opportunity to be grateful? To not waste one second of our health?

Have you met Kristan Seaford? If not, I am giving you fair warning that any excuse you have ever used to avoid going to the grocery store, cleaning your house, or going for a walk is about to be obliterated.

Kristan is a fellow fitness-instructor with me in Charlotte. 3 1/2 years ago Kristan developed septic shock after a bout of strep throat, which turned into a coma, which required medications that saved her life, but also took both of her arms to the elbow and one leg to the knee. So now Kristan lives as a triple amputee. With five kids and a husband. And still teaches fitness classes at the Y. And drives her kids to school. And cooks dinner. Oh, and most recently went paddle boarding and rock climbing.

I see Kristan at the Y sometimes, and am always amazed at her perseverance and ability to carry on being the strong woman that she is. But I recently ran into her at the grocery store and was blown away all over again. Her cart was overflowing with food (remember the five kids and husband?), and she was alone. I was practically in a trance watching her unload her groceries with her prosthetic hands. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to pick up a bag of pretzels when your fingers won’t completely close? After a couple of seconds I snapped out of it and helped her unload her oodles of groceries as we continued to chat. She never became irritated with herself, or mumbled under her breath. She just calmly kept reaching for things to unload, even if something slipped out of those fingers. She then dug her credit card out of her wallet and swiped it, dropping it once on the counter, and patiently making those prosthetic fingers obey her brain to pick it back up. The cashier remarked, “I don’t even offer to help her anymore, because I know she won’t let me.”

I felt so ungrateful and lazy for all of the moments that I haven’t wanted to do something that I am healthy enough to do. Drive to the grocery store and pick up food with my own 10 fingers. Cook dinner for my family. Walk up and down my steps. Teach my classes. I wondered how Kristan taught strength classes when it must be so difficult to grip the weights.

So what would it look like for you and me to see every movement as an opportunity to be grateful? To not waste one second of our health? To look at exercise, whether it’s in a gym or walking through the neighborhood, as the gift that it is. I know that short interaction with Kristan gave me a new perspective that I needed, especially as summer is here and my kids are out of school. I am given new opportunities every morning to make healthy choices to care for the body that I have. Today I am choosing to be grateful.

If you would like to see Kristan’s story, check out her blog: www.kristanseaford.com.

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