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March 1, 2021

Modern Day Miracles

by Paden Hughes

Hands down, I have to say that the best thing about being a parent is watching your child experience something exciting for the first time. It’s magical and it reminds you that life is full of magic. Sometimes it just takes childlike eyes to recognize that. 

Kennedy turned 4 last month, and instantly went from a toddler to a “little girl.” She knows it, too. As she has been getting older, we’ve been having fun dripping in new experiences. Most recently, it’s been staying up late and going to Gymnazo’s outdoor arena to see a projected movie. It’s been a HUGE hit with her and her little friends. 

As a parent, you can anticipate how your child is going to react, but it still blows my mind at the things she marvels at, that I didn’t consider. 

Last week, it was seeing stars for the first time. She ran out of the house, all bundled up, ready to head to the movie night, and then suddenly stopped. I looked back and saw her looking up at the sky. 

“Look Mommy, are those stars?!?” She pointed up. 

I realized, she’s never stayed out late enough to see a dark night sky and the contrast of the sparkling stars shining brightly. 

So we stopped to admire the stars and talk about what they are and how they shine at night. 

“Mommy, why do stars only shine at night?” she asked earnestly. 

I started to explain that stars still shine during the day but you just can’t see them because it’s too bright. If it wasn’t for the dark backdrop of nightfall, you’d miss them entirely. 

I’ve thought back to this moment several times in the last week. Mainly in context to the pandemic and running a business and surviving as a team during seemingly endless pivots. 

And here’s what my conversation about stars with my daughter reminded me about what I’m living through…. what we are all living through. 

We are living through a season of life that could feel a lot like nightfall. 

It’s easy to feel alone in the dark. 

It’s easy to feel afraid in the dark. 

To feel depressed or anxious. 

To feel like no one sees you or cares. 

But if you look up, you’ll find the stars. Bright, beautiful, stark reminders that light still exists. 

Community is still there in doses. 

Friends still care. 

Kindness shines brighter. 

Magic still exists. 

Many of you have asked Michael and me how we’re doing, how we’re surviving during the pandemic. 

And I’ll say, the truth is that we’re choosing to focus on the stars in the nightsky. 

And because of this, we’re seeing more than we did before. 

Here are some examples of modern day miracles we’ve witnessed in this time: 

  • A team more unified, more passionate and focused on helping and serving our members than we could have ever imagined
  • A team member, on leave, picking up the phone to call us and ask how she can help and if she could start coming back to work to help us get through 
  • A member calling us to ask if they could sponsor the memberships of other clients who lost their jobs and had to cut their training 
  • A past member walking into the gym the week we closed to hand us a $20,000 check to help us have peace of mind to lead proactively, not reactively 
  • Members keeping their auto pays running as long as they could, even when they weren’t able to train with us, just to help us stay open 
  • Members sharing posts and stories on social media and helping us find ways to connect with others worldwide
  • Members working out in the freezing temperatures, or even rain, showing more grit than we’ve ever seen 
  • A Chamber of Commerce that gifted us $5000 to help us get through a tough economic time 
  • Landlords who let us repurpose part of their parking lot so we could create a space that members like almost as much as indoors. 
  • …. and so many more examples. 

These are modern day miracles and bright shining examples that remind us there is still beauty and much to be thankful for, even in the hard seasons. 

I will say that Michael and I feel so deeply thankful and so touched by so many of you. Regardless if you’re training with us now or have in the past…. we have nothing but gratitude for the amazing humans we’ve had the privilege to know, to bring to Gymnazo and to “high five”. 

When is the last time you’ve looked up at the night sky to marvel at the stars? 

I mean that literally and figuratively. Because I’m a big believer that you will find whatever you look for. If you focus on the night, you’ll notice how dark it feels. But if you look for the stars, you’ll find them too. All around you. And the more you find them, the more it feels as miraculous as stars look to a 4 year old.

Cheers to more stargazing in 2021

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