Wednesday, April 21, 2010

in the world but not of it

Some people may say that I am dangerously "in" the world a little too much for their liking. After all, I'm down at the Y teaching pilates in my "workout clothes". And there are guys there.
Not that guys normally take pilates, but you do get a few once in a while.

The possibility exists for one of them to "fall" for you or worse yet, you for them. Thankfully, my husband is such a wonderful guy that the latter has not happened. And if my flesh fails me, the Lord picks me up and reminds me who I am and my purpose for being there in the first place--to share Christ! Many great relationships have been forged through my Y involvement. My Thursday Bible study was formed from Y relationships. So, I know that my involvement there is not in vain.

But as it is, with all things that are somewhat dangerous, you can get burned. Not seered. Not fried or consumed, just burned. And it reminds me what a risky business I am in.

Now I know you are sitting there thinking--give me the details! I have to know!! And being a blogger, I will give them. But I just want you to know that in the 3 years of teaching fitness, this is the first of this type of thing to happen.

I have a fairly in shape older gentleman of 75 years named George coming regularly.. faithfully.. O.K. he never misses a day of my Wednesday morning pilates at the Y. I figured it was his only social outing. And as an outgoing, friendly fitness instructor, I talk to people. So, you know where this is going. (I'm so naive!!) So, by and by, he develops a crush on me.

As with anything that anyone says that is dumb, out of place, or just distracting, I just ignore it and move on with teaching. That's what teachers do. So, I was intentionally ignoring any signs of seeing this coming. Oh, and have I mentioned that I talk about my husband and kids (a lot!) when there's a free space??

So, I am demonstrating a modification to one of the exercises, and I have everyone leaning against the wall. It was a fairly small class, so I was going around making sure everyone got it. After all, I make modifications for their safety, not to challenge them further.

So George starts to slip and struggles to hold his balance right when I'm walking by.

Instantly, the mother of five children--the safety patrol--the save the world instinct-- comes out in me and I grabbed on to him for dear life, hoping his big body won't come crashing to the floor. When I noticed he caught his footing, I put him down. (yes, I probably was lifting a 180 pound man) And I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then do you know what he says???

"I was only joking!"

I'm like WHAT?!!! I was livid! mad! incensed!

But of course, I had to get on with finishing the class.

So, that all happened LAST week. So, this week rolls around. There's only one person in class. The weather is gorgeous, and everyone is home gardening, I guess. So, can you guess who the ONLY person in class was? That's right. Big George.

It wasn't until then, at that very moment that I realized how uncomfortable I was.

"Thanks for the hug last week," he said.

"Uh.. that was not supposed to happen," I said cooly.

I managed to make it through the class, but I did not leave my mat. I acted like there was a ton of people in there. But it was SO awkward!! (And I have since learned that we are not obligated to teach if only one person shows up!)

And so I did not even know what to make of my emotions. But when I went into the Y cafe, and Angie (one of the workers) asked how I was doing, I just burst into tears.

I felt naive, used, taken advantage of. I felt guilt, even though I was the victim of this situation. I felt like trust was gone. And yes, I am going to confront him. And yes, I am not going to teach if he is the only one in class. But it made me question so many things. I even contemplating quitting. But my husband told me that I should leave things as they are, and this will pass over.

But it made me realize (in a real way) all the dangers of being in the world. And I asked myself is it worth it? Is it time to ball up like a cocoon and shelter ourselves from these dangers? And the Lord reassured me of my calling--to be in the world, but not of it. Had I been tempted by these advances, I'd question myself. But I do not want to be in the world the way they are in the world, which is in their minds. They are plagued with lusts and temptations that we do not even know about it. (And such were some of you) So, I do not plan to humiliate the fella, but I do plan to be firm and clear.

Nevertheless, yesterday was an emotionally dramatic day. And in the end, the Lord was my comfort and strength through it.


Braley Mama said...

I am so sorry that happened. That must have been so uncomfortable. You are so brave to talk to him. Something like this has happened to me and I have just ran. You are right we are here for a purpose. Praise God for your work!

Becky said...

It sounds as though you handled yourself admirably during the class, and for that matter, during the one in which he pulled his little stunt. If I'm going to break down,I have a tendency to do it after the fact as well-which is probably better than melting down at the time. It gives you the opportunity to evaluate the situation away from the pressure, and it seems as though you are approaching it appropriately. I would ask though if you plan on approaching him by yourself? I would not want to embarrass the man in front of another person, but it may be prudent to have someone that was at least reasonably close-by.

Tiffany said...

Aw, that stinks. I am sorry that you had to feel so uncomfortable like that.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh what a stinker!

Like the girl who pretends to drown so the lifeguard will 'save' her!

Tell him that next time you're calling 9-1-1. Well, maybe that's too much, but he might wonder if you mean the cops or the ambulance! ;-)


PS You are doing JUST FINE. My hat (if I wore one) would tip to you!``

sara said...

Jena, Was he making a pass at you or was he just making a really bad, goofy joke - trying to be funny? Sorry, I wasn't quite sure what you meant. Either way, that was stinky.

Jenny P. said...

Oiy, what a rough experience. Will be praying for when you decide to confront him. And, you're doing awesome things at the Y -- I hope this blows over quickly.

Organizing Mommy said...

You know me--it's already passed over--LOL. And yes, Becky? I will bring a friend when I talk to him.

over it. I'm telling you--I'm over it.

Scottish Twins said...

That sounds awful. Just awful. I am so sorry you had to experience that.

I can kind of relate. I am a pretty modest dresser, but I have to set aside my beliefs when I teach dance classes, because it is the one time during my week where I need people looking at my body. I used to have a hard time with it and prayed really hard about it, but I feel like God wants me there doing what I'm doing.

Next time let him fall ;)

Anonymous said...


Are you sure he wasn't just embaressed and made a joke? If he is really old it may just be he shows up because he likes the class and has nothing else to do on a sunny day.

But by the way you say you were so upset I am assuming that there is much more to this story so I am sorry you are going through this. I love pilates. At least I THOUGHT I loved pilates. I was taking a class and just ignoring all the namaste stuff and would pray when we were instructed to meditate. Then I purchased a DVD and realized the teacher was mainly doing YOGA..something I did not want to do. YIKES! I had even started teaching a niece not realizing what it was. I just thought some of the things sounded like yoga.

hope it all works out.

Kristi Lea said...

I'm so sorry about your rolercoaster of a day, and I pray that the Lord will give you the strength and the words to confront him with!

Michelle said...

Hi there! Just want to introduce myself, I've been following your blog for some time. I appreciate your posts. I'm a homeschooling mom of 4 from Manila, Philippines.

I think it's great how you handled yourself with that man. And even how you were able to resolve it with yourself. You're right, we are in this world but not of it. We will always be exposed to people and situations like that, but God promised to always be with us.

God bless you!

Organizing Mommy said...

Michelle: Welcome to the blog! I'll go and check out your site also.

Anon: Thanks for chiming in. We won't pick on you if you leave a name and link! (hint hint)

This fella is an incredibly strong guy. One would even doubt that he is 75. I've seen him handle a 30 sec. plank with no difficulties. As far as namaste goes, that is not a traditional pilates term. In fact, I've never encountered it in my training. But I do recall hearing it in a traditional yoga setting.

Pilates and yoga are different from each other philosophically but sometimes similar at a glance. So much of it depends on the teacher's background and individual beliefs. As a Christian, I differentiate between the two philosophically but feel I have the freedom in Christ to borrow some movements/ etc. from the pedagogy. (Oh, now I'm getting above myself..)

Jenny said...

So sorry you had to deal with this. It sounds as if you are handling it quite well. I relate, because I also am not automatically suspicious of others' intentions.

You never know what God has in store for you from this experience. Maybe it will give you guidance to help someone else along the way. Blessings!

Mrs. Parunak said...

Yuck. I'm so sorry that happened to you! It's nice to know that you don't have to teach a class with only one student, so hopefully you won't have to feel so uncomfortable again. Hugs!