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Prodigal Son

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Forty-two years ago, I was born into a very religious family. As I grew, I was taught the morals, principles and traditions of my inherited religion. They helped shape and mold me into a model child, with strong spiritual conviction. I knew all the stories and could recite all the scriptures. The community and fellowship of the members of that church, helped me to navigate the crooked roads of my life, with confidence. It's bright shiny beacon of piety helped keep me from getting lost in the world. Yes, It seems I had it all down. As much as a child could, I suppose.

At the age of fourteen, I was exposed to other ideas about god and faith. I began to question what I had been taught to believe, and went out searching for my own answers. But at fourteen, it's difficult to find the strength to stand on your own. I thought I had it all down, but I wasn't strong enough. Ultimately I came back to the beliefs and fellowship of the church.

Over the next twenty-five years, I continued to search for my own answers and ideas about what was right for me and my soul. This caused me to wrestle with my commitment level to that church to the degree I had been as a child. I had bounced back and forth from activity to inactivity several times throughout those years.

By the age of twenty-nine, I felt that I had evolved enough spiritually to once again stand on my own. I distanced myself from the idea of organized religion and began to worship in the disciplines of self guided spirituality. While I still had my ups and downs, it was the things that I learned from religion as a child, that kept me from going to far off the deep end. I used those lessons to navigate my self back on course when the waters got rough.

5 years ago, I was searching for answers to my weight challenges and found Spark People. A new community, full of fellowship, that taught me how to worship the temple that is my body, and gave me the tools to get through the struggles with my weight.

I learned much from this church of self respect, and as I did in my childhood, became a model Sparker. It became my salvation and quickly became a huge part of my daily life. Reading and writing blogs, communicating with other like minds, giving and getting support, earning trophies; it was exactly what I needed. Not unlike what religion did for me growing up. It helped build and shape my new found sense of my physical self and I reaped the benefits.

Eventually, I felt I was ready to venture out on my own and I stepped away from Spark People. I knew it would be there when needed, but I felt confident and strong enough to make my own way. Yes, once again, I thought I had it all figured out. Several years later, I've found that not to be true.

In February, I was brought back to this community by an email I received saying that someone left a comment for me on my Spark Page. When I returned to the site to read the comment, the memories of that time of health and wellness came flooding back and the spark inside me was rekindled. It was nice to see all the familiar faces and feel the embrace of positivity once again, but it was still only a spark.

Over the last couple of months that spark has grown a little at a time, and I now find my self with a, full blown, burning desire to come back to the fold. To make the full commitment to myself and my health. I have begun to track my food and fitness again and begin to feel as if I'm getting back to those days. The damage sustained while I was away is significant to say the least, but not permanent. I thank you all for being here on my journey down this crooked road to becoming happy with myself once again.

I guess you could say, the prodigal son has returned.
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