A surprise gift from the Team
There are moments that change you immediately.  Seen with the eyes, felt with the heart, they are often indescribable… In the form of the dramatic and extreme - losses or gains, incredible accomplishments or defeats, the death of a loved one or the birth of a child.  These moments become ingrained in your being in a way that no line or separatism can be found.  And once it’s happened, it’s as though it were always there.  But these are things you can point to and say, "That.  From that moment on, I could never be the same."  And you can’t. 

For me, watching Team X-T.R.E.M.E. battle the Super Spartan in Leesburg, VA is just one of those moments.  Eight men and women completing the course in just under five and a half hours, never more than a few feet from one another… and with all eyes on them they were focused only on each other and on completing the mission.  I wrote more details about it in my Spartan blog and the story took me two frustrating days to write.  And this particular post isn’t about that day…it's about what has happened since, and what will remain.

What I saw that day is something that has been very difficult to write about personally – not because the words aren’t there but because there are so many of them at the surface.  And in going through the emotional experience I was able to witness I’ve had to let the flood gates go and let the words come in whatever form that they do realizing that there is no “perfect” here.  And I won’t ever be satisfied with what I write.  And those are the hardest stories for me.  The ones I’ll never do justice to because there just isn’t a way to say it all… there’s just what you feel when you see something that beautiful

Beautiful in the sacrifice. Beautiful in the selflessness.  Beautiful in the struggle.  Beautiful in the courage.  Beautiful in the loyalty.  Beautiful in the thankfulness.  Beautiful in the hope.  Beautiful in the gratitude. 

And that feeling of experiencing that kind of beauty, deep, rich and lovely, can’t be articulated with words.  Beauty will always be one of the great mysteries of the world, but we know it immediately when we see it.  That stirring inside, the warmth and light in our eyes when they fall upon something we just know is beautiful.  It’s not an arrival, it’s a recognition.  And we want to protect it, we want to honor it, and keep the feeling it evokes inside us close by.  We want to capture it somehow, and the truth it reveals.

And I sat on the plane typing and erasing…typing and erasing… and I couldn’t tell the story like it deserved.  What I saw in Leesburg was one of the most beautiful things that wasn’t mine… but it will never leave my heart.  I realized that I couldn't get the words to flow because this wasn’t something I could objectify, even from the outside… it was so much deeper than that.  And it wasn't my moment or experience.  I was on the periphery, a part of the landscape taking it in from the outside, just bearing witness.  But it was no less powerful.  I’ll carry that with me forever and with an abiding conviction.

I've been lucky to see beauty often in my life, and I always appreciate that familiar feeling that sweeps over me when I recognize it; how it overwhelms and saturates the senses instantaneously and completely - captivating the soul in ways that can’t be denied.  Beauty, like love, faith, truth, and joy, multiplies and moves outward like a ripple making everything else more beautiful in its wake.  I can only hope to keep the wave moving outward.  May that kind of beauty never be contained. 

[Writers note: Photos courtesy of Kevin High Photography and Nuvision Action Image.  More more information about Team X-T.R.E.M.E.'s involvement in the Super Spartan Race in Leesburg, VA go HERE.  For more information on Team X-T.R.E.M.E. visit their FB page or Website.]  


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