Work week at the ranch! The contestants got a taste of juggling a job and limited gym hours -- a fact of "real" life. So many of the challenges presented to contestants on the ranch have such an impact once you are back home. For me, the eating out all week challenge helped me more in my everyday life than any other. I learned how to order out in a healthy way... a way I used tonight, in fact. At a chain restaurant, I was able to order grilled fish (without oil or butter), veggies, and a plain sweet potato, all the while enjoying the company of a dear friend. That's really what the ranch is about... teaching us how to make the lifestyle work in "real" life.
What I loved most about this episode was seeing the friendship between Cheryl and Sherry. How cute are they?!?! Maybe I connected so deeply with their bond because I know that bond firsthand. While they never showed Shay and I staying up into the wee hours of the night talking, giggling, crying, venting (that was mostly me).... it was and is real. When I describe my relationship with Shay to people, I say she's the sister I never knew I had, it just took me 35 years to find her. How thankful I am to have found her!
Shay made my journey on the ranch complete. I felt an instant connection with her before we had ever spoken a word. When she shared her story with the group, for the first time since the wreck, I felt true empathy for another person. That was a huge moment for me. We became roommates and our friendship grew. She listened when I needed an ear (even when she was exhausted) and gave advice when I asked. Her counsel helped me work through so many things I needed to deal with. Needing other people and asking for help, being the biggest lesson. When I was on crutches for weeks, I was frustrated that I couldn't work out in the gym or train like everyone else, but my biggest frustration came from having to ask for help.... help with fixing food, help with carrying my plate to the table, help with laundry, help with just about everything imaginable. (I have to give a big shout out to Rebecca for all the loads of laundry she did with the best heart!) She helped me see that it was okay to need and love people again; that despite my loss, I could not shut people out and do everything alone.
As the contestants worked at the food bank, they spoke of what it meant to them to connect with others and give back. That's really what life is about, isn't it? Relying on other people when you need help and giving back when you can. Sometimes you're the giver and other times the taker. It's almost as if you have to experience one to enjoy the other. This week may you be at peace with whatever role you are currently in. Let's all keep "Working it out!"