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BALANCE

November 26, 2016

   It's 7am, not the usual six.  It was a late night, Melissa and I had tickets to a concert in Toronto.  We saw John Mayer play at the Amphitheatre, which is a great outdoor venue.  Not much for his usual songs but on stage, he can play guitar as good as anyone and he creates this intimate atmosphere. Some bands can do that, they take you somewhere, like when you stumble into a pub to find this band playing some classic old Stones song.  It's like a connection, you hear the guitar, every note, and nothing else.  Even in a noisy bar surrounded by drunks, you block it out and it's just you and the band and you escape.  Music can be that powerful. 

   Opening for John was Phillip Phillips with his new found and well deserved American Idol fame.     I knew what I was in it for before he even hit the stage, and it was rough.   In life, when we go through something very difficult or something amazing, sometimes, we connect it to a song that's popular at the time. Whenever you hear that song it reminds you of what you went through, good or bad.  7 months ago, Olivia was born. 

   It's an amazing thing, everyday babies are born all over the world and parents go down one of two paths. Some go home the next day with this incredible new gift and they begin the journey of raising their son or daughter.  But when something just isn't right, you're taken down a different path. The team of doctors and nurses explain the situation and in a few short minutes you begin the fight. 

   Your mind struggles to interpret the news and you turn to each other, realizing suddenly that things could go very very wrong and you are not in control. Believe me when I tell you, nothing in life will break you down and tear you apart more than seeing your children suffer while you stand there completely helpless. You sleep on the floor or in a chair, anywhere you can find space because you can't afford the "nice" room with two beds. You watch your wife fight off complete exhaustion but there's nothing you can do. You just sit there waiting for news, and for days, it's all bad. It's more tests, more blood work and more maybes, maybe it's this, maybe it's that, nobody knows.  All you know is that you cry every time they try and take blood out of her tiny little heel that's black and blue and full of holes.   

   A few days into it you have to get out, you have to reset, and for me, that means the gym. I'd leave at 6am and go train.  People might say, are you crazy?  How could you go lift weights at a time like this, how selfish!  Well there's a very good reason and Melissa understands. It's hard to explain, but imagine you're in a classroom and a teacher writes fifty equations on the board and you have to memorize them.  You stare at them for hours going over them, again and again until you're ready to lose it.  Then, the teacher comes back, takes an eraser and wipes the board clean, "don't worry about it" she says.  Your brain immediately stops thinking about it and you relax.  That's what the gym does for me, it resets my mind, and it restores balance.  Going back to the hospital I was now able to fight for Melissa and force the nurses to let her sleep.  I could now talk to the doctors without screaming at them in frustration with their theories.  Most importantly, I was now better able to think, to interpret and make decisions.  I could be that much stronger for my wife and our little fighter Olivia.   

Phillip's song "Home" was all over the radio that week, and I will fight off tears every time I hear it.

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