My evening schedule was tight. There was a late work meeting, followed by meeting with a friend, then a short break, and a deadline to head to the airport to catch a red-eye flight back to Singapore. My energy level was draining. I knew I was running near empty. Part of me was calling out for a sauna. The other part of me had given up and wanted to just sit.
The choice challenge was simple. I understood the benefits that would come in I stepped into the silent heat but I also knew how the heat would hit my body. Was the hit worth it? Would I feel better or worse when I was all done? As drained as I was, would facing the heat make the different tonight? I was not sure if the mark the heat would leave with me was worth the potential upside that I thought would follow.
In an unexpected way, everything unfolded like clockwork. My work meeting finished as planned and on a positive note. The catch-up went well, a bit beyond the schedule but nothing that impacted the decisions to follow. The moment of decision was here – sauna or no sauna, take the chance of letting go and rediscovering hope or try to recover on my own.
The moment to decide came into focus unexpectedly. As I look back, I pushed aside the emotions that had framed the choice and made a whimsical choice – sauna.
What followed was very familiar. A fitness center regular was just leaving. We occasionally chat, enjoying each other’s company on occasion but not compelled to catch up unless it is convenient. I had the place to myself. The sauna was bathed with soft yellow light. The intense heat quickly embraced and overwhelmed me. Shortly, everything that was binding inside me released itself. It seemed that “When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot.” (Psalm 34.6)
Thirty minutes later I walked out renewed, relaxed, and filled with a sense of hope. The hit was anything but.