By Noona Joseph
It is truly remarkable that we all start off no bigger than a grain of sand. As time goes by, we develop into the characters and people we are today. Through the nurturing of our experiences and care of our bodies, we can do great things. However, once we become reasoning and thinking human beings we are faced with the inevitable question of “What is my purpose and how will I get there?” We are also faced with the challenge of somehow bettering the world in which we live by setting aside our own fears and selfishness because we know we can. Of all the great things to experience in my life why would I want to swim a mile in a dirty river, bike twenty-six miles in the hot sun and run six miles? Will this choice that I make to participate in a triathlon get me closer to my purpose and help others at the same time? The combination of excitement and fear are always intertwined like thread when I make decisions to do such radical things. I get tingling sensations in my stomach like the ones I feel when I ride a roller coaster to when I am going to do something that I have never done before. At the same time I imagine things that “Could” happen. These “Could happens” are always through bouts of fear. I envision moments like swimming into a floating log during the first leg of the race or accidentally falling on the row of bikes and pushing them over like dominos in the second leg of the race. It’s then that I realize that the only thing stopping me from completing my goal isn’t physical but my ability to overcome by mental blockage - my fear of not finishing.There are people out there whose bodies are so weak they can’t walk to the bathroom. Fear sits next to their bedside like an unwanted guest, yet somehow their own strength shines the way to keep going. It occurred to me that our bodies are elaborate, machine-like vessels that take us from place to place. Some carry treasure and others carry trash. Many vessels are in need of great repair. The day that I decided to participate in a triathlon really changed my view of my own obstacles of matching the mind to the body and the spirit to contribute to society. The demon of fear hovers above me like a thick, cold, fog, but I know that eventually light will chase it away.Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I have decided to participate with Team in Training and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of twenty. I figured that the grueling rigor of putting myself through a triathlon is nothing compared to what many others experience without their own choosing. In a way it is a luxury to participate in a triathlon compared to someone who suffers daily from battles against blood cancer. A single mile for me is a step for them. Every stroke in the water is a day for them. Yet together we each progress forward.In the end, participating in the triathlon will be better than finishing because I know that I have somehow made a difference for someone other than myself. So, of all the great things to experience in my life, why would I want to swim a mile in a dirty river, bike twenty-six miles in the hot sun, and run a final six miles? All I know is I think I’ll tri to help.