I participated in my second organized bike ride for charity the other day. My husband and I rode the 15 mile route. (He could've done one of the longer ones - 35 or 65 miles - but, good man that he is, he stuck with me.)
We rode through quiet streets and down near the water. We stopped and drank Gatorade and nibbled small triangles of peanut butter sandwiches. I was doing great - if I do say so myself. And I did say so, more than once, to my husband. And, see, this is where I should've kept my big mouth shut because I jinxed myself. I hit the wall. (Not literally, although if there was one nearby, I probably would have.)
It was my own fault really. I had kept my mouth closed for most of the ride - much to my husband's surprise and delight - but only because I didn't want any love bugs* to enter my mouth and get caught in my teeth. I don't ride that fast but those bugs were everywhere. Until they weren't. And that's when I opened my mouth and instead of swallowing a love bug, I swallowed my pride.
My legs all of a sudden went as heavy as two cement casts. The nice breeze turned into a head wind. An 80 year old man rode by me. And waved. I wanted to stop and walk my bike the last couple of miles. I wanted to give up. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do things that are hard for me? Bike riding. Writing. Etc.
Because that's how we learn and grow and change. Because that's how we get better and be better. I could've just written a check to the charity but then I would've missed out on hearing my husband cheer me on and tell me how proud he was of me. I would've missed joining the other riders as we turned the corner and saw the finish line. I would've missed out on standing with my husband, our feet in the cool water lapping at the sand, basking in the sun and in a sense of a challenge set and conquered.
The same is true with writing. My husband encourages me, I'm part of a group of wonderful writers from all over who are "turning the corner and seeing the finish line", and every one of my published stories brings me a sense of accomplishment.
So, when obstacles or rejections hit us in the face those like love bugs, when they get stuck in our teeth and we can't seem to spit them out fast enough, remember this: every time we hit a wall, it means we're doing something, we're trying, we're challenging ourselves. And I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be hitting that wall than just sitting there, staring at it.
[*For those of you who don't know what love bugs are, here's a link for you. Pictures and everything.]