The Journey Begins

As I was finishing with the cool down stretches with my client, I prepared myself for the question that I knew was coming.  It had been a long day of training, putting my clients through rigorous workouts, checking their form, redoing measurements, encouraging and pushing for the better performance that I knew was in each and everyone of them.  I was tired, hungry, and digging deep to keep my energy up as the day rolled on.  Tom was lying on the stretch table while I stretched one of his very strong and very tight legs.  I had his heel propped up on one shoulder as I leaned my weight into the stretch, pushing his hamstrings into somewhat of a reasonable length.  Tom is a big guy, not in the sense of being overweight, though that is still kind of true, he is just big all around.  An old retired Vietnam veteran, he was nicknamed “half ton” because while in his time of service as a machine gunner, he once held up the back end of a jeep with his bare hands while a flat tire was being changed.  Needless to say, I had to put some effort into making sure he got an adequate stretch.

“So…” he began, and I knew my time had come…again.  It was a question he had asked me only about 50 times now in the past year or so of working together.  I tried pushing harder on his leg, hoping to stall him, but no such luck.

“How’s that speech coming?”  There it was. 

I grinned, “Been working on it like crazy, almost done with it.” 

He laughed. “That’s what you said last month, and the month before that.” 

I protested, with feigned indignity, that it takes time to put together such a magnificent piece of art such as I was constructing.  He laughed again as I finished the stretch and pulled him up to a sitting position on the stretch table.  Getting his bearings, he paused for a second before looking straight at  me and saying something that stopped me cold.

“You know, it’s selfish of you not to share your story with the world…people need to hear what you have to say.”

Several years prior, I was honored with the privilege of doing some of the scriptural reading at my sister’s wedding ceremony.  Still having some usable vision at the time, I remember stepping up to the podium, pulling out my glasses from my tuxedo pocket, taking out my magnifier, and without hesitation, gazing out into the crowd and confidently reciting my lines with ease and passion.  My grandmother would later be quoted saying, “I think he missed his calling.”  A few years even before that, I was asked to be the keynote speaker for a Sports education camp for Visually Impaired youth, a camp that I both participated in and later volunteered at.  My first real public presentation, and I received three separate rounds of applause at the end of the speech.  The wife of one of my friend’s said that she had no idea that I could deliver a speech like that…frankly, neither did I, I just enjoyed talking to groups and trying to deliver a message to them.  It wasn’t anything I really had on my radar as a profession, or even as a hobby.  My ever-supportive wife had been telling me for years that I had a gift for speaking and I should use it.  I would just shrug, not necessarily disagreeing with her, but thinking to myself, what do I really have to share?  Sure, I’ve done some pretty cool things in my short life, traveled to some amazing places, met some really incredible people. Picture of Christ The Redeemer statue against a blue sky with white clouds I have walked the Great Wall of China and stood under the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.  I have white water rafted in the mountains of West Virginia, and rode a ferry boat from Denmark to Sweden.  I’ve been to the White House three times, met two U.S. Presidents, and competed in three Paralympic Games.  I’ve been to over fourteen countries, and nearly half of the states make my list for places where I have not just travel, but events where I stayed and did some exploring.  Add on places that I have skipped through just traveling to another destination and you could easily double those numbers.  I owned a home, raised kids, cultivated a wonderful marriage, and have had more blessings than I could even count, all of it because of or despite the fact that I am blind.

How would any of that help others though?  These were all things that I cherish and feel privileged to have been blessed with, but for those around me struggling with real life stuff, this is just a big list of things that someone else did, of no big consequence to the average day, so I thought.  Luckily for me, God, my wife Leanne…and Tom, are not to be brushed aside so easily, and one more thing happened that really made it click into place.

As I was walking home from work one day, I heard the oddest sound.  About forty feet ahead of me, a double  thump sounded off as a truck jumped the curb on the sidewalk and a truck stopped, blocking the walkway.  Out of the truck stepped a young man who walked back toward me as I trailed my cane along the edge of the curb, wondering what in the world this vehicle was doing.

“Hey,” the guy said, “I’m sorry, I know you’re leaving, I just wanted to say something to you real quick.”

“Okay, what’s up?’” I said.

“You don’t know me, we’ve never met before, but I’ve been watching you at work for the last six months.”  Alright, that’s a creepy start, but I was at least paying attention. He continued, “I just wanted to tell you before I left to go back home to Colorado, you have really changed my life.  Just watching what you do has inspired me to go home and fix some things in my life, and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate everything you do.” I was a little taken aback.  I have had people say to me in passing how inspiring they thought I was, or how amazing they thought it was that I was out and about on my own.  Normally a polite smile and a word of thanks and how I’m just blessed like that is my normal response.  This was different though, This young man put his truck into park…illegally, but that’s beside the point… he climbed out of his truck and sought me out personally to explain to me what had happened, and it wasn’t just a little inspiration, it was a fundamental change in him.  After shaking his hand, thanking him and telling him that I would be praying for him, I walked on home, pensive and unsure, but excited at the same time.  Here was a person that I had affected at the root level, and I hadn’t even met the guy.  I felt good, like I had scratched an itch that I had been reaching for for some time.  And what I came to realize, was that my job as a Personal Trainer was not my calling, but a manifestation of my true passion… fitness was an avenue, but helping people grow, helping people better themselves, to give back even a small portion of the abundance of joy and life that I have been given, that was the core of it.  So as you read this, please recognize two things for me.  The first is that though I don’t feel worthy to be the person that may bring you to a better awareness of yourself and improve your life, I do feel that God has equipped me and called me to pour everything I have into attempting just that.  And the second thing, know that I care, I am genuine and have no reservations in saying that I care about you, and want nothing more than to see you succeed.  Follow me if you would, and my prayer is that through the many blessings that God has given me, I may bless you in return.  I am Tyler Merren, and I’m seeking the true champion within myself…and within you.

31 thoughts on “The Journey Begins”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog, Tyler…you have a great way of expressing yourself..I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about you….and those words encouraged me..
    So proud of you…..may our LORD continue to use you for HIS purposes…


  2. Tyler, this is an amazing testimony to your incredible influence in the way you live your life and the Light YOU shine through HIS strength! May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family!


  3. Beautifully written Tyler. You have been blessed with a gift and I hope you continue to inspire people with your words. Enjoyed reading your story so much Love & hugs always to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tyler, you and Leanne have demonstrated to me that there are so many things that are possible with God!! Things that I myself would have been terrified to do if I was in your shoes!! Your whole family is an inspiration to me and a testimony to faith in the One, True, and Living God!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May the gift you are bringing to other in sharing your heart bring abundant blessings back to you. That’s what we have experienced in the sharing of our story. God has blessed us and equipped us to do the hard things. Thanks for allowing us all the privilege of hearing from you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tyler, this tom and you need to know how much our time together has meant to me, not just you stretching but your testimony. I bought need to apologize for going over you head to your wife for that final push to.get you on stage. I continue to thank our ,Lord for placing you in my path.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tyler, I just want to say meeting you has given me so much!! You made me a strong person both inside and out! I feel like you are my coach in and out of the gym!! Also my relationship with my husband and family is so much more rich!! You are a great person and you do touch everyone that you work with. It took a lot from me to give 110% every time I came to the gym. Saying that I wouldn’t had it any other way! Thank you for giving me back my life. It has been a long and great journey with you!!


  7. Tyler,
    You and your family have been a blessing in our lives, and a testimony to the God we serve. May you follow the path that the Lord has already prepared for you, and never depart from it. Please continue to share it as the Lord leads you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tyler:
    You have brought hope back in my life in many levels. Not only you inspire to be fit and have priority to care for physical body, but for the soul as well
    Thank you for your patience and great training. Your dedication is greatly appreciated. The best trainer around town
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tyler, very grateful for you and your family. Looking forward to seeing where your speaking career takes you! Your experience and insight on life are second to none, and through you many people can be impacted! Love you man.


  10. Tyler – When I first met you at the gym, I was very impressed. I always looked forward to the personal training but most of all by your accomplishments and how you are an inspiration to me as well as many others that know you. Many times when I left the gym I would see you walking in or walking home and I would always get a warm feeling knowing that God was taking care of you in many ways. You are blessed in much more ways than the average person because you can see much better the many gifts you have been given. Your thankfulness for all He has given you is so remarkably uplifting. For that you will always be successful. You are a winner even before the race starts.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve told you many times how proud I am of you, Lee and your family. But I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the insperation you guys give me to stay positive. I know no matter how hard I’m working your working harder. Great blog brother. Keep it up. We need more people/ families like you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think you realize what that means to me brother, I respect you and look up to you in a lot of ways, keep doing what you do and I really appreciate the kind words. I’m fortunate to have a brother-in-law like you.


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