SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 37: “Please Salute Our At Home Heroes”

For those of you who don’t know what spinning is. Put this in your mind: One hour of high intensity peddling, ever-changing grades of resistance, high tempo music and a room full of riders pushing to burn calories. 500 to 800 calories to be exact. Add to that a drill sergeant barking motivation to you, and you have 50% of the picture.

The other 50% you can only get by attending a spinning class. No lie, it’s an extreme workout. I know, I teach it six times a week.

I end my class today, and as I prepare to leave, one of the clubs new instructors asks me for some advise on setting up the audio system. Takes us about fifteen minutes. I find out that not only is she a spinning instructor, but also a yoga power woman. Her smile is radiant and there is a something about her that beckons me to invite her to 365.

I show her the project and she tells me that she is not that interesting. I ensure her that she most likely has a personal story or wisdom to share. “I have seen it time after time in many of my past interviews.” Plus, there is something about her that tells me she has a very special message. So I leave the offer hanging in the air.

We focus back on setting the stereo, somewhere in the middle of audio check, the 365 mission becomes mutual.

Meet Anne, a remarkable woman… soon you will know just how remarkable.

Not wanting to distract her from her pre-class warm-up, I grab a few fun shot of her checking the bike. I’m telling you this girl is in amazing condition. I take first actions in photographing her before drill sergeant mode kicks in. She counters with a full-out standing sprint, smile on face… NO LIE, SMILE ON FACE! She’s not human, most mortals in the same situation would be grimacing as if being chased by a rabid badger.

Sprint over, it’s time for a grinding climb. With heavy resistance pressing back against her pedals, she comfortably relaxes her torso, and here we go, that motivating smile again. Oh the pain of it all! I think? Her class better watch out, they’ll be putty in her hands before they know it. And by the pace of her effort, will be putty on the floor by the end of class. What a way to burn calories, being smiled into submission. Even though I teach, I’ve got to take one of Anne’s classes. I need to be humbled.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all smiles in Anne’s class, that’s just her hook, once she has you, the real drill begins. Her comforting expressing magically changes as the class gains intensity, and at that point, you are totally in, nowhere to go except to complete your one hour of pain and exhilaration. And the best part, you want to!

But this is only the wrapping to Anne’s story. True, she is a poster child for fitness. But what is deeper than her physical ability is her devotion to country and husband.

You see, Anne is a military wife. One in thousands of unsung heroes.

It’s easy for us civilian folk to recognize the men and women in uniform. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shook the hands of those who sacrifice so much to preserve our freedoms, and I ask you to please take moment of pause to thank them for their efforts.

Yet, in seeing our uniformed protectors, we are only seeing half the picture. For many of them the sacrifice is more than risking personal life and limb, they leave loving families behind as they serve. These unsung heroes are not always easily spotted and deserve as much praise as their far away spouses. They are not martyrs for loneliness, but promoters of freedom, joining their spouses with great courage and willingness to sacrifice all.

Unless you have served or have had a family member serve, there is no way you can completely understand this sacrifice. I thought I did, until today.

As Anne and I begin our interview, the phone rings, it’s her husband with news regarding his recent deployment. There is a dream on the horizon, a possible mission that would place him permanently in San Diego, giving them the chance to finally start a life under one roof. Bad news, the San Diego deployment may not happen.

The military life is one that changes in a moments notice. Although saddened, the spirit of Anne’s disappointment is content. I can hear the love and pride of husband in every word she shares.

My eyes tear ups as Anne talks, “I am so proud of my husband, he is always smiling and thinking of others. The most positive man I know. And when things are down, he is there to pick me up. I married a good man. I am blessed and honored to be with him.”

After hearing this, I will never view a military man or woman the same. Yes, they will still get my families applaud. But one thing is for certain, if they are wearing a wedding ring, I will not forget to say, “my prayers are with you and your family.

God Bless, those who protect our freedoms, and their families who so selflessly support them.

I welcome your feedback on this post.