Oh what a breakfast!
This past Saturday we had 32 men at the Face It center for breakfast and oh what an event it was! To begin, my hat is off to Face It COO (in corporate speak that is Chief Operating Officer, but in Face It speak that is Cooker of Optimism) Bill Dehkes (and his amazing wife and my cousin Wendy) along with Face It #1 Dan Foley for all of their efforts to prepare the food and feed all of us. No small feat to feed this many men without a kitchen on site, but I dare say no one went hungry and the food was brilliant!
We also had the privilege of having Jeff come and speak to our group. Jeff attended one of the very first Face It Men’s groups that was launched some time back in 2012 and after a fashion Jeff left Face It to navigate his path. Jeff reached back to me about 3 months or so ago and we had a chance to re-connect. Jeff came to our office back then to tell Bill and me about the journey he has been on to as he said “do it differently than I had been doing.” Jeff told us how as he was nearing 60 he was realized that he needed to make some changes in his life so that he could get more out of “whatever time I have left.”
When life has been clouded by the nuances of depression, such as not valuing who you are, not liking yourself, making poor choices in an effort to cover your pain, being unable to form meaningful relationships, and in general abusing yourself, well life isn’t particularly fulfilling. Jeff said that he saw many things about the way he was living and made a steadfast and determined decision to make changes. And one way he has helped himself has been to get back to something that is very important to him, hiking. And oh how he has been hiking!
Jeff told the guys that his journey to Mt Everest (yes Mt Everest) started while back with walks over his breaks at work. Jeff made a commitment and then put forth the effort necessary to get started. He realized that he wasn’t going to get in shape overnight and so he said that every day he “committed to at least walking out the door.” Meaning that even if he didn’t walk that day, he would at the very least compel himself to climb out from behind his desk and step out the door. And he soon discovered, “If you walk out the door then I realized I might as well go for the darn walk.” His effort begat more effort and more rewards. Jeff told our guys that it was important for him to understand that he wouldn’t be able to walk every day, but if he at least put in that initial effort to walk out the door, he shouldn’t beat himself up if for some reason he couldn’t walk that particular day.
Pretty soon his walks became ENJOYABLE (a concept that I know can seem foreign in the face of depression) and he found himself looking forward to his walks. Then one day he stumbled across a travel company that he had used in the past and the next thing you know, Jeff had committed to a journey that would lead him to over 18,000 ft. to the base camp of the mighty Mt. Everest. The sense of accomplishment Jeff experienced by completing this journey sent shivers through me.
Out of the commitment to “at least walk out the door” Jeff is planning a hike this summer on the Appalachian Trail with family, he’s volunteering his time at a nature preserve, he continues to lose weight, and very importantly he feels better about who he is and his place in the world. I guess that old adage of a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step is true.
I am grateful for Jeff and his story and I know you don’t have to climb 18,000 ft. to find your place in the world. And I also know that once you at least “commit to walking out the door” you will begin to find your place in the world and some peace in your soul.