You know that feeling you get when you're being watched? I was halfway through my strength training routine and could just feel little eyes on me.
Casting a sweaty glance to the staircase in between deadlift reps I learned I was under the intense scrutiny of Jefferson peering between the balusters.
I've learned what this expression means; a silent study which signals his mind rapid firing with analogy and inquisition. No sooner had I set my dumbbell down before the organized line of questions started pouring out of him.
"Mom, why do you lift a weight? What is it exactly doing to your muscles?"
I give a simple explanation. Lifting a heavy enough weight to challenge yourself over a series of repetitions actually creates small tears in the muscle. These tears are repaired into bigger and stronger muscle tissue than before.
"So you actually have to break and hurt your muscle to make it stronger?"
I see his conclusion doesn't sound all that great when stated so plainly, but he's right, yes, you have to tear it, rip it, and it reheals stronger than before.
"I know what that's like Momma," he continues, "it's like why God lets bad stuff happen.
It's heavy, it hurts, it breaks people sometimes. But if they really know the true God they will grow back stronger than they were before they had that weight. They will be better than before. That's why isn't it Momma? That's why bad things happen. To be stronger, better, and know you can lift it."
My adult heart still wrestles with questions surrounding this thought process. But looking into my son's serene face finishing his perfectly simple explanation I feel blessedly overwhelmed under his wisdom and insight. I glance at my dumbells and down at my sweaty arms connecting all the dots of Jefferson's word picture. I gather him close and thank him from the bottom of my heart for sharing his.
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