Try something new in November
Dad made me promise not to spar.
“That’s not what it is,” I explained.
“It doesn’t matter. They will try to get you to spar.”
So I did all but sign a blood oath that I would not fight people during my cardio kickboxing class*. Two weeks later, I can confidently say I have no desire to break that oath.
We use these things called Thai pads. No, not pad Thai, a noodle dish that you should definitely order from Thai Tasty in Jackson. Thai pads. You strap them on over your forearms, so when your partner punches or kicks, they’ll hit the pads and not your ribs. Or face.
I’m apt to bruise, even through the pads. The instructors have assured me that the bruising won’t last, that my body will acclimate, and that they themselves — trained MMA fighters — bruised all the time when they first started. They don’t appear to be banged-up now, so I believe them. Either that or they win all their fights.
They have not tried to get me to “spar,” not that I expected them to. I don’t know what Dad was thinking — I’m not exactly “Million Dollar Baby.”
Despite my lack of coordination or desire to take things to the next level and get actually hit in the face, I love the class. I even picked out a pair of pink boxing gloves. I never thought I’d intentionally wear pink boxing gloves, like a Power Puff Girl or something, but here we are.
Several other women take the class. I’ve also partnered up with a couple of the men, and mercifully they have not kicked as hard as they can. One of them caused me to accidentally hit myself in the face, but that was more embarrassing than painful. I’m glad he didn’t notice.
Maybe I’m weird for enjoying a workout class that can leave me with bruises or jammed fingers. But I like the affirmation from the trainers as I follow their guidance; I like the opportunity to blow off steam (especially when I’m frustrated by my inability to master the moves — I just punch harder!); and I like working out with other people. We’re all sweaty, stinky, and in it together.
This class is just one of many new things I’ve experienced this year. I’ve moved from one part of metro Jackson to another; I’m running a women’s retreat around the time this issue comes out; and of course I’m trying to survive everyone’s favorite gift that keeps on giving, the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a single person, it’s hard not to go crazy when “get-togethers” are limited for safety. The looming time change makes that even harder — it’s about to start getting dark as soon as I get out of kickboxing class. Every fall, I remind y’all to get your Vitamin D, spend time with other believers (safely), and most importantly, spend time with God. Otherwise our souls are apt to bruise.
If you feel like the only new things in your life this year are face masks and social distancing, see if you can find another new thing to try. Maybe it’s a workout or a musical instrument. Maybe it’s intentionality in what you consume, especially in the increasingly dark evenings. What are you listening to on your way home? Does it give you life, or merely make noise? When you are at home, are you reading scripture? Are you taking time to sit with God?
November doesn’t have to be all drudgery till Thanksgiving. It can be a month full of gratitude and newness of life. You might not come out bruise-free, and you’re not going to feel happy all the time. But with God’s grace, we can thrive.
I’d love to hear what new things y’all are trying! Here’s to November. May we live abundantly in it.
*at Killer Bees Jiu Jitsu and Black Sails MMA in Ridgeland
Must-reads this month
● Our cover story on Brandon native and New Orleans Saint Demario Davis and his wife, Tamela (page 18)
● Our feature interview with Col. Carlyle “Smitty” Harris, a Vietnam veteran who spent eight years at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” and his wife, Louise (page 24)
● Emily Gregory’s testimony of how her son’s illness has strengthened her longing for heaven (page 26)
● Tell the high-school seniors in your life! The deadline to apply for our Christian Leaders of the Future scholarship is Friday, Nov. 13! (See page 29 for details.)
Float like a butterfly, sting like a … butterfly. Who am I kidding?