My heart is full after having had the privilege to watch the Rising family assemble en masse this past Saturday to compete, coach, cheer, judge and heckle at the third annual Rising Games. What started a few years ago (anybody remember the dumpster pull-up hand massacre?) as a friendly little event to help members get to know each other has grown into a beautiful picture of what the Rising community is at its very best.
I am usually the one competing. It is the role in which I feel most comfortable. But, this past Saturday, I had the opportunity to judge and oversee the competition….and let me tell you, I got to see a lot. I saw some mistakes. I saw a few missed lifts. I saw dropped barbells. I saw ripped hands. I saw fear in the eyes and doubt in the minds. I saw hesitation. I saw physical exhaustion.
But I also saw people take leaps outside of their comfort zones. I saw newbies boldly sign up, unsure of what they were committing themselves to. I saw veterans readily answer the call of leadership, uncertain as to whether they were fit to do so. I saw injured athletes swallow their pride, and do what was necessary to help their teams.
I saw people show up on a cold Saturday to sit on a hard floor in a loud, cramped and crowded room just to cheer on their friends. I saw elation after someone made a lift he did not think he could make. I saw joy as people ran hand in hand with their teammates to get across the finish line. I saw adults acting like kids on a playground….happy, free, silly, secure, loved, supported, belonging.
We all know the world will always be there to provide us with heartache, and doubt, and fear. It will keep turning as we struggle to handle life’s inevitable disappointments. But to know that we are part of a community that will hold our hand to help us through it, that will cheer us on when we don’t think we can do it, and that will pick us up when we fall….that is what makes my heart full and what makes me so grateful for this wonderful Rising family.
As a business owner with a very small staff, it is easy to get caught up in all that has to get done on a daily basis simply to keep the doors open. To protect against losing sight of the reason you started the business in the first place, I am a firm believer in writing out mission statements, returning to them frequently, and using them to constantly evaluate whether your efforts are leading you to your goals.
In the summer of 2013, I wrote the following and made sure I wouldn’t misplace it by putting it on our website’s home page:
“Rebirth. Renewal. Community. Rising was built for everyone. It was built to be a place where people can walk in broken; physically, mentally, or spiritually, and walk out restored. It is a place where strangers will become a community and shortly after will become a family.”
You guys……(Remember I am from Jersey so “you guys” is my “y’all”)….but seriously, for real. You have done this. Your commitment to this place has spurred its growth and has shined its light. We are a big crazy, dysfunctional, chef-hat wearing, video trash-talking, rose petal eating family….and I love it. Thank you for making Rising the place I hoped it could be. Well done to all the teams who competed at the Rising Games….we have more fun team events in store for you throughout 2016 and we can’t wait!