Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I was driving down the road yesterday, dodging the slush and the ice when my mind wandered to someone I knew almost fifteen years ago. I wasn’t sure if I was amazed that it had been almost fifteen years since I last saw or spoke to them or that they had even crossed my mind to begin with. We didn’t part on bad terms. They moved from San Diego to Los Angeles and left no forwarding addresses or telephone number. It wasn’t like we were BFF’s. We just went our separate ways.
But it got me to thinking. That was a chapter in my life. It began and it ended. I learned something from the other person and I hope they learned something from me. My life has had a lot of chapters in it, some with happy endings some with sad endings and quite a few who are waiting for the endings to be written. Each chapter means something. It was like when you were little and you built with blocks, one stacked on top of the other. You couldn’t make a tower without the bottom block, or any of them for that matter. Bright and shiny, dull or chipped we need those blocks or we have no tower. We give value to each of our blocks or chapters in our lives.
Sometimes things are what they are and no more or no less. We stand on a scale and we create value or lack of value based on some digital numbers that course across the dial. We try on clothes and grin or grimace based on how well or poorly they fit us. We are not our weight. We are not a size 2, 4, 6, or 8 or whatever we aspire to be. We Are. We are as warm and as radiant and as beautiful as a winter snow, a spring thunderstorm, a summer sunset or the rustling of fall leaves at our feet.
When I was in first grade in Catholic grade school we had to memorize our catechism. I still remember one of the questions and answers.
“Why did God make you?”
“God made me to show forth His goodness.”
I have often thought about that chapter of my life and if I believed that exercise I never, ever would have needed anymore religious training period! I am beloved and loved. I am, as you are the greatest miracle in the world. Only recently did I start acting like I was that miracle.
So are you.
It’s not a scale, a diet or a calorie counter that determines my worth. It is the feeling I create inside of me that acknowledges that I am very special and worth the effort to make myself healthy and happy. I will not be loved more when I lose and additional sixty four pounds. My value will not increase when I reach my goal and head to Nashville to by a suit I have dreamed of. Those things are nice, but I am nicer.
Come closer so no one else hears:
So are you.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I spend a lot of time hearing things and saying things and then just assuming that's the way they are. For example: "Everyone just dreads Monday morning!!!" or "TGIF!!!!" or "Tomorrow is hump day."Some of us let our moods be affected by a co worker, a boss, a neighbor or a partner. It's always about someone or something else, isnt it? The "diets" we are on do not work because we are different than other people. Exercise is for young athletes not fifty six year old warriors. It goes on and on.
I woke up this morning to snow. I'll admit the only time I like snow is from about noon Christmas Eve until about six pm on Christmas Day. Before and after that it should be seventy five and sunny all year round. I see snow and my mood darkens. We still have two daughters who live at home, ages 25 and 24. Last night they asked me if I could give them a ride into work if the roads were too bad. I woke up this morning and there were still clothes in the washer and dryer!!! The world was conspiring against me!!! It was going to be a rotten, nasty, horrible day. Damn, the fates!!!
I'm not sure where it came from, but it was a direct about face!!! I started thinking that the first sixty minutes of my day set the tone for the rest of my day. I began to wonder that if I was conscious of that could I condition myself to behave positively, every morning?
You might call it looking at the world through rose colored glasses or be a bit skeptical. I was too. I stood by the kitchen window and looked at the snow. It was still not quite yet light out and the more I looked at the snow, the more beautiful it became. Nothing had changed but me!!!
Am I on a diet or am I changing my life style to be healthy and live to torment my children at age ninety? Do I still get "scale fear" every Sunday morning before I weigh in? I am going to challenge myself to be a positive and as helpful as I can the first sixty minutes of my day. I want to have a "good day" everyday!!
I think, i'll call it a goal!!!!! Care to join me?
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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