7622556-3x2-940x627.jpgI have been excited for summer. 10 months ago I made a real commitment to my health and fitness.  Having resigned myself to the fact that the 60 pounds I have gained from meds isn’t going away and also submitting to the fact that I will not be able to ditch the meds anytime soon, it was time to to get serious. I started high intensity interval training (HIIT) and personal training, which takes me the gym 5 times a week.  5 times a week for 10 months. I’m pretty much rocking’ it.

Unfortunately, weight loss is happening at a glacial pace. I have only lost 15 lbs. in that many months, which I think is just the amount of sweat I have lost – not actually fat.  Please don’t tell me “you’re just gaining muscle”.  It’s true. I’ve gained muscle which only means my fitted shirts no longer fit my shoulders and bulbous arms. Unfortunately, my ass is the same size as it was 10 months ago, size XL.

A friend tells a joke about a husband and wife. The wife says “I’m just big boned.” He says, “Oh yeah? How did you get that big bone in your ass.” I feel you girl. I feel you. My one saving grace is that girls that are asstastic, like the Kardashians, Beyonce, and Nicki Minaj have made my derrière  en vogue.

Fast forward to this summer and a family vacation to Glacier National Park. I was excited to hike because I am in so much better shape than I have been in the whole of my adult life, even though that shape is round.

We finally got to hike up the trail to Avalanche Lake, a beautiful glacial lake at 4k high in the mountains. As we hiked the first part of the 4.5 miles I began to get frustrated. After all that effort in the gym and being able to out work gym members half my age I think I expected to skip up the mountain. Instead, I was sucking wind like a chain smoker on a treadmill.  It was disheartening. My internal whine meter skyrocketed. I cursed the weight I had put on, the time and money wasted on the gym and intense diet change, and the diseases that required the meds in the first place.

Mid-whine I observed a fellow hiker. A one legged hiker. He was hiking that steep trail, slippery with moisture and mud, with hand crutches and one leg. He smiled pleasantly and nodded as he PASSED me. He appeared to be enjoying himself as if he was unaware that he had every excuse in the world to be a whining complaining couch potato. Color me sheepish.

I have two good legs, a healthy body and a healing mind. I have abundant support and resources. My healthcare is paid for and readily available. Healthy food and nutritional supplements are at my finger tips. It’s time for me to quit using my disabilities as a crutch for my bad attitude. Complaining about what I don’t have and what I have lost in the process of diagnosing and treating my mental illness isn’t getting me further up the path.  A little gratitude is in order.

I took great joy in watching that man enjoy the well earned, hard fought view of that beautiful glacial lake.  Thank you, whoever you are, for reminding me of all I have.

One legged lessons

I don't fit anymoreA church for everybody?

I join the ranks of singles, gays, artists, doubters, divorcees, addicts, non-english speakers, graveyard shifters and liberals; all misfits within the mainstream evangelical church culture. I’m a sock without a match.  I’ve become an introvert with issues. I’m a church goer without a church.

The church doesn’t work for me right now. My anxiety and inability to handle too much noise automatically makes church a big pile of no. Add the obligatory hand shaking, people greeting, passing of peace and I’m a goner.

This place I have loved for the entirety of my life has become an edifice of challenges that reinforce the feeling that I’m a round peg in a square hole.  “Get over it”, some say. “Work your way back in”, as if just going for a few minutes more each and every week will inoculate me to the symptoms of my mental illness. Or, my personal favorite, the guilt tactic. “The Bible says, don’t give up meeting together”. (Heb. 10:25) So, I am supposed to trigger my anxiety and disease, making me sick for the next week so you don’t feel badly about us not being together? Well, guess what? I didn’t WANT to give up. I didn’t want to quit. I love the church but the system just doesn’t work for me.

The western church has by-in-large become a place where white families with  families and some access to privilege and resources fit the mold. These families can afford to send their kids to camps, have time to drive their children to mid-week church activities and help them with earning their badges and advancements for those activities. They can give in the offering and have time to do Bible Studies midweek. They generally haven’t worked all night so are alert enough to get to church on Sunday Morning. The “misfits” are singles who have no-one to sit with, blue collar workers who are barely making ends meet, outspoken political liberals who are afraid to speak their passion, artists who’s art form is never ever used in worship even though it is how they express their own adoration of God, recovering addicts who dare not celebrate their milestones except in their recovery groups.  All misfits. And me.

For the record. I haven’t given up “meeting together”. I have relationships with friends and family that are still rich and good. And we meet. And we talk about faith. I just don’t meet at “church”.

What, I wonder, would a church that strove to accommodate the misfits, welcomed their quirks with grace, look like? Should the format be changed to accommodate the fringe or should the fringe get over our damn selves and try to blend into the melee of  the extroverted western church?

I don’t fit anymore