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A visit to Lynn’s garage gym

When one walks down our street on any Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday morning, you will pass a house where the double garage doors are wide open.  You will hear the Alexa Amazon Band loudly playing a variety of tunes from Michael Jackson to Maranda Lambert to Bon Jovi at 9:30 am.  Such noise causes the dogs to bark and prepared humans to wear earplugs.

Folks hear the racket from far away and wonder in this neighborhood of mostly older people, why there is such madness coming from the brick house on the corner.   Then it dawns on them who the house belongs to, and it begins to make sense.

Yep, you guessed it, it is ours.  After the gyms closed, I was determined not to be emergency airlifted to a hospital due to a chocolate chip cookie overdose.  I needed the inspiration to keep myself motivated to move to avoid such a fate.    I took my tape measure to my small garage to determine the number of friends I could spatially distance to exercise and remain safe.  No more than a total of five could participate.

“Lynn’s Garage Gym” opened in March, and it has saved a few of us from becoming slugs sitting on sofas surrounded by Tootsie Roll wrappers.   Every week I create exercise routines because boredom will surely kill any motivation.

The girls know if I am upset over some goofy government decision, they will need to do extra rapidly counted jumping jacks.  They recognize when I am blue because the ab workouts are shorter, and the music is a bit softer.  But, when they hear Alexa belting “Beat It” by Jackson, or Gun’s N’ Roses, “Paradise City,”   they know what they are in for.

My gym became official when Mr. COVID decided to stick around for a while.  Even though some workout facilities opened, older folks have decided that it is not so safe for most of us.   One day, the girls surprised me with a custom-made black iron sign that reads between the molded weights, “Lynn’s Garage Gym.”  I adore that sign because even though it says, “Gym,” the garage has become much more.

We say prayers on days when the world outside the open doors seems bleak and dark.  We wave at the neighbors as they stroll by smiling at the crazy ladies who believe they are still only seventeen.  We rarely fully agree on politics or the breaking news, but we never let it make a difference in our friendships.

Many days we go over my column for the week, and I receive constructive, honest feedback.  We complain about the ugly rolls of a mysterious entity on our bodies that never seems to go away yet are grateful we are still around to see them.  We long to hug our grandchildren and gather at friends’ tables, but in the end, we are thankful we have each other and the gym.

I can tell when one of the girls is down or tired, so I crack my whip harder, and the blues seem to float to the sky.  We laugh when a bird decides to fly into the gym for a visit, or a stranger almost runs over a mailbox when he hears moans and groans along with Alexa Amazon screaming, “Pink Cadillac.”

There is much to be said about finding motivation amid sorrow.  It is so difficult not to succumb to the 2020 doom and gloom.  We bemoan the loss of ordinary days and long for their return.   Would not that be wonderful?!  However, there are a few things I hope we never do again.

I would hope that we nevermore return to ingratitude.  I hope that we have learned that complaining is quite useless and that prayer is quite essential.  May we forever remember that life can change on a moment’s notice, so enjoy every moment of even the most mundane days.

When I watch my workout sisters as the sweat pours off their brows, I witness abundant life and relish health in our little gym.  I do not take breathing or friendship for granted, and I pray none of us ever will again.

We find we are stronger when we work out, not just from the weights we lift but also from the gained mental strength to weather the hardships of life together.   Our power comes from having the endurance and courage to survive the worst of times.

The adage, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” is appropriate today.   However, may we now finally recognize that strength comes from our hearts, not our muscles.  Ultimate lasting power only comes from love, kindness, empathy, and gratitude for God’s abundant blessings.