Saturday, February 13, 2010
I found Sparkpeople.com two months ago today. I wasn't looking for them. I had started tracking my food consumption and I was searching online for the elusive nutritional value of some item or another. I saw a small add on a web site off to the right in a corner. I clicked on it and as they say the rest is history.
I have lost right at 35 pounds in that two months and while I am very proud of that weight loss it is not the most important lesson I have learned (So far.) I learned that no matter what you do in life it is a lot easier if you do it with help and support and encouragement. I learned it's okay to be weak because if you really embrace your own weakness you learn a lot about yourself and how some times you just have to reach out and let people take care of you.
I read a lot of the blog postings every day written by people who have overcome real adversity in their lives and I am very humbled and motivated by their journey. I am fortunate that my life, to this point, has been relatively trouble free. My children and grandchildren are all healthy. My wife and I have been married for close to thirty six years and we have had a pretty normal marriage. We agree on a lot of things, we disagree on a lot of other things. She's Irish and I'm Polish so it makes for some pretty drama filled argument's at times. Other than a bit of blood pressure issue and a little bit of arthritis, our health is good. We are blessed with family and friends. I'm not trying to sound like a Hallmark Greeting card. We're just normal. Our cars break down, our furnace ocasionally needs repair and we get toothaches in the middle of the night that cause us to go running to the dentist.
I have been blessed by having my family's support these past two months. My wife has never fussed or gotten angry about my weight. She has always showed concern, asked what she could do to help and been way more patient then I would have been. She is happy that I am happier and glad she can"put her arms around me." My children, on the other hand remarked they dont like the fact that there is "no junk to eat," when they come over.
I really believe in angels. I do not believe they are winged creatures with blond hair dressed in bleached white robes. I believe they are you guys, my Spark Friends who I know along with my family are there every single day to offer encouragement and support. There are so many of you!! And I believe each of you was sent by God.
I learned I am fat (I know it's not the politically correct term, it's just simply the truth!) because my eating and exercise habits were sloppy. I never took the time to look at what went in my mouth and pretty much gave control to my exercise habits to a tight schedule that allowed no room for health. All that being said, telling yourself the truth is tough at first but gosh when you see results, it doesnt sting too badly.
Thank you my friends. That's what I have learned in two months. I owe a lot of people a sincere debt of gratitude.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I ran into my friend Angus at the grocery last night. We hadn't talked in close to six months. Angus is the youth minister at one of our local churches and the most unassuming down to earth ministers I have ever met. (That's a lot for a Catholic to say about a Southern Baptist, trust me!!) A few years back Angus was going to leave our city because he had received an offer to become a youth minister at a larger church in another state. He had accepted the offer. A week before he and his family were supposed to depart he took three of his four children camping with some close friends. His wife and his daughter remained home to pack. On Saturday evening his wife went to bed and never woke up. They were high school sweethearts. Like everyone who knew him I went to the funeral and said "all the right stuff." The place was packed.
I didnt see Angus again for a few months. When you dont know what to say you tend to avoid people and they avoid you and then you both avoid being awkward. I do recall what he said to me, though. He told me he was grateful for all the support during and immediately after the funeral. He wished some of those people were still in touch. He told me then, that it was "now" that he needed friends when everything seemed so gray and he felt so alone.
I thought of Angus this morning or rather his situation. I "huddled" with some of my Spark Teams and happened to read the blog of a person who had, well they had given up. Tired of exercising, tired of being a slave to the scale, just plain old tired and would rather be obese, because at least they could get some peace. The person felt guilty because they had just given up and was really looking for some support, someone in their gray day to rally around them and say "Hang in there, we are all with you."
Before today I didnt know this person from Adam. Wasn't one of my buddies or network. What I told them was that I felt miserable and sore this morning and was about to say I wasn't going to work out. After I read what they wrote, in their misery and agony they motivated me to at least walk for an hour today and hopefully some of the cramps in my legs will subside. I hope in a way I let them know there is someone out here for them. I encouraged them and told them there were millions of people just like them. We ALL understood their plight.
So here is my challenge to you this bright and beautiful Friday morning:
Take some extra time today if you can and look for a Spark Person you do not know that may be struggling and just share part of yourself. It's easy to support friends and buddies who think like we do.
Maybe, just maybe, me and you can be the big difference in someone elses life and sanity today.
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