I sling fertilizer for a living. I push an eighty pound hopper filled with little white pellets from one end of a property to the other… over and over and over. It’s an honest living which provides plenty of time for self reflection. Being tasked with walking back and forth across properties you are left with only a couple of choices, either complain and stew, or enjoy and appreciate what it is that you are doing with your life.

One day of the year is more special to me than all of the rest. There is one day, in particular, where we cover more acreage, in more open heat, than we do any other day of the year. That day was yesterday, and that day is when I am most aware of myself, my progress, and my spirituality. It is basically my spiritual fitness progress report.

About six years ago, I broke the world record for most consecutive days of going to bed at night determined to make a change the next day, and then not getting out of bed the next day at all. Every day was going to be a new chapter, but every day was the same old song.

However, I did eventually fall into stride and start doing things different, and surrounded myself with people who supported me. Once I found a little hope, learned a little about gratitude, and started to make positive changes, the hardest day of my year became my favorite. It is a day of reflection, progress, and appreciation.

As I push my fertilizer spreader through miles and miles of open property, I go into deep reflection and take personal inventory. I am conscious of where I am in my life, and aware of how fortunate I am to have all that I have….the good and the bad. While it is true, I spend time working on my physical fitness, and that has improved throughout the years, my spiritual fitness has been what has provided most of the happiness and feelings of well-being.

As I feel the hot Memphis heat pull the sweat from my body, I am grateful that I am healthy and that my body attempts to cool itself. As my hamstrings burn with each additional step, I feel fortunate that my legs function, as many people don’t have this luxury. While my back aches from the push, I am in awe of how much the human body can take, and how little rest it requires to repair itself. As my feet hurt, I am in disbelief that they will continue to move as long as I command them to, and that they will stop, if only I decide to make that decision.

Through awareness and discomfort, I have come to appreciate both discomfort and awareness. With each year of spiritual growth, I not only accept discomfort, but have both a respect and see a need for it. I can see the relationship between pain and growth, and have made the connection between tribulation and triumph. My fulfillment has come from placing myself in positions to fail, and my freedom is based on my willingness to attempt these types of things….and has little to do with the outcome.

With each burning step comes the desire to take another, and with each year comes a greater acceptance that the burning of the step is part of the beauty of it all. I am grateful for the opportunity to work hard, and am fortunate to have a job that allows me to do so. I consciously try not complain about my job (even though I sometimes do), because I feel lucky to have one. I see people whose attempts to let people know how “hard they work” come in the form of bitching, complaining, and constantly informing the world of how “hard they work”. Being miserable is hard work…. being dutiful and employed is a pleasure.

While physical fitness has played a big role in my life, I think that it has been the catalyst for wanting to grow more on a spiritual level, because that is where I find my sense of peace. It is hard to say which one promotes the other to a greater degree, but I am grateful to have both of these things in my life.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,