Did you ever look up what that word means? I can honestly say I never had until earlier today. I looked through various dictionaries to see what they all said, and while they all had variations, the consensus was that a warrior is someone who overcomes all obstacles to become successful. Hmmm. I disagree.
I spent the majority of my day focused on this word.
When my alarm went off this morning at 6am, I awoke with a sense of jubilation and excitement…it was Warrior Dash day, and I sure do love me some muddy races. This race was going to be extra special, as I wasn’t just running it with my cousin Laura, but with my fiancee Kyle…and it was our first race together.
I love the Warrior Dash for a multitude of reasons. Contrary to belief, I don’t mind getting dirty and like jumping around in mud. I obviously love running. I love challenging myself and taking on crazy obstacles. And you better believe I love getting a furry helga helmet. When I get to do all this with the people I love most, I love it even more.
It was a beautiful day for a race. Seriously, the weather couldn’t have been any better. The mud was perfect: messy but challenging. As with any Warrior Dash, we had no idea what obstacles we would encounter. I was so proud of us for killing it on the obstacles and showing incredible teamwork….and then the next to last obstacle presented itself: the Goliath. Let’s talk about the Goliath for a second. From the ground it doesn’t seem too bad. I mean, you climb up a high cargo net, then walk across a little beam to a huge slide that in turn spits you out in a giant mud puddle. Fun, right?
WRONG. That little beam is very small and takes place about 15 feet in the are over a shallow little mud puddle. It’s long, and all you have for balance are two small ropes. I don’t need to elaborate, but I was scared to death. Thank heavens for Kyle being there to help me through it. It was terrifying. Once we crossed the finish, the terror of the Goliath disappeared and I began to felt like a real warrior. I had beat the obstacle course; I was awesome. Being a warrior means doing that, at least according to the dictionaries I consulted.
One of the greatest moments one has after a race like this isn’t that moment when they finish, but that moment when they get a hot shower, wash all of the dirt away, and hop into bed for a cat nap. This was exactly my plan for the remainder of the day. After my shower, I found myself feeling the same jubilation I had when I first woke up: time to rest! And right when I went to put my head on my pillow, my phone lit up.
My phone blows up all day long. As an entrepreneur, it’s just how it is. I have to be available to take the calls and respond to the messages when those who I coach need me. This text though wasn’t one of those messages. It was one of the worst messages I possibly could’ve received.
My friend Andy, who I have written about several times on here, had lost the battle he so bravely fought for the last nineteen months. As you may remember, he was involved in a terrible car accident that left him in the ICU for many months before he was able to move to an assisted living facility where he could receive proper care. His journey had been a rough one, but I don’t think any of us ever questioned whether or not Andy would be okay. I honestly believe we all felt in our hearts that someday he would be back to his old ways, that he would laugh with us and talk to us all again. After all, Andy is a warrior.
Let’s go back to that definition the dictionaries shared with me: a warrior is someone who overcomes obstacles successfully. Andy left us this morning after being found unresponsive. Over the last nineteen months he had faced more obstacles than I can even imagine. He fought and fought and fought and overcame so many things that most people couldn’t. To me, that is a warrior: someone who fights until the bitter end giving everything they have. This is what our Andy did.
To get a furry helmet and jump through some mud puddles…..that doesn’t make someone a warrior. Staring the worst of the worst in the face, looking it dead in the eye, and still taking it on…..that is a true warrior. And that is what Andy Buehl did.
I’m heartbroken to have my lost my friend. Im heartbroken that a family lost a son, a brother, a stepbrother. And I’m heartbroken that the world has lost one of the greatest guys I have ever known to walk it. As heartbroken as I am, I am so thankful I was fortunate enough to know such an awesome human being and call him my friend. I know a lot of people can agree with me when I say Andy truly made the world a better place.
When someone close to you goes through something crazy and terrible like Andy did, you can’t help but think about life in general. Life is so short….we never know when our last day could be. Love with all your heart….passionately and completely. Evaluate your priorities…spend more time with those who mean something to you. Forgive for pain and hurt….learn from it, but don’t grudges. And when something scary comes your way, think of my friend Andy and the warrior strength he showed until the very end.
I’m proud to have known a real warrior.