Lent 2013 Entry, Day 6

The blood work results were in and the doctor wanted to see me on Thursday afternoon about his interpretations. HDL’s and LDL’s and whatever over whatever and caloric intake bled together into a Charlie Brown’s Teacher cocktail of information. His suggestion was to prescribe a medicine that would regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure and such and ideally keep me from having a heart attack.

I prefer the phrase “being my own healthcare advocate” but truthfully I was just being an ass: “What did people do, like, 50 years ago, before this medicine existed, to get their blood work results to fall into the normal range?”

“Well, they ate less and exercised more. But I’ve found my patients would rather take the pills.”

Not this patient, man. Diet plan and exercise routine will commence…

…on Monday.

I really didn’t need blood work results or a doctor visit, for that matter. The scale and the larger pant sizes weren’t liars. But there’s no need to dive into this thing right now, is there? Let’s just get a fresh start on Monday morning. I’m already 41 pounds overweight, so what’s a few more days, right?

The more I looked into it all, the more I kept finding out about why the doctor’s patients found it easier to take a pill. I needed to find about an hour a day to work out. The choices were getting up an hour earlier or giving up some reading before bed. I needed to make a financial investment of some type and the only issue was how much…maybe a good pair of running shoes? How much is that health club membership? Anybody know if that P90X thing works because that might save a few bucks in the long run if it does? Will the free dietary app work or do I need to plunk down almost $2 for the upgraded version?

And don’t get me started on the diet. More time for shopping. More time in the kitchen to cook it. Both of which require planning ahead. Added cost, because you can grab enough Taco Bell for less than you might spend on a full-blown salad at your house. I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to give up a nightly bowl of ice cream (usually while watching The Biggest Loser) or eat seaweed instead of red meat.

I began to regret my decision…and it wasn’t even Friday. Just the idea of everything it would take to get those numbers down to a reasonable number was beginning to discourage me. Might be easier to take the pill. I knew what I needed to do, but the justifications for not doing the things I needed to do started to gain traction. I was giving that pill some serious thought.

Much the same way that general idea of losing weight and getting healthy was enticing, the more I dug into it, the more uncomfortable I became. The more I get into this season of Lent, well, the more uncomfortable I’m becoming.

See, this whole thing seemed to noble and romantic when it was an idea. I am new to this church family’s rhythms and warps and woofs and since I get a peek behind the curtain it was intriguing to see how they follow the historical church calendar in a unique way. This was a chance to experience some of the things I’d only heard about. The church I went to before I was a teenager did all this stuff but I was a kid and wasn’t really paying much attention to what was going on. We just gave up meat on Fridays and something else, usually cussing or caffeine. That’s about as deep as I got. Seemed noble now. Romantic even. I’m a grown-up now.

So, Fat Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday) was great. We enjoyed family and friends and pancakes. Showed up for a very meaningful Ash Wednesday service with my church family who uses terms like “spiritual physical” and “bright sadness” to describe it. The idea is that we’ll use these 40 days to do a little spring cleaning of our souls.

That meaningful service gave us a chance to confess our sins by writing on black fabric. Easy enough in one sense. Then we could write the names of people we want to come to a relationship with Christ on a piece of metal. Easy enough. We prayed prayers that we read aloud together from the video screens. Easy enough. We got ashes put on our foreheads to remind us of a humble mortality we all possess. Easy enough.

We also were to choose to give up something or add something to our routines that would be reminders of sacrifice. In other words, when you were reminded by your not doing or need to do that sacrificial thing, it would bring to mind those spiritual Charlie Brown’s Teacher Cocktails of humanity that we need to deal with.

So, I chose blogging every day because it is a sacrifice to me…and now I’m struggling with that decisions moment-by-moment reminders.

I don’t want to be still. It’s a hell of a lot easier to keep moving than it is to give an honest assessment of where I am spiritually.

I don’t want to know that He is God. When I know what He is, I’m confronted with what I am not.

I don’t want to deal with my sin or face any semblance of humble humanity. Let’s just leave those skeletons in that closet for a while longer…because this spiritual physical’s bloodwork reveals a lot more serious issues than simple health problems, man.

Thankfully, I am learning to appreciate that Lent has left a light of hope on at the end of this tunnel and I know I need to press on.

Just like when I called my friend Joyce who was a nutritionist…who took the mystery out of it all and she showed me how to think in terms of lifestyle rather than diet—and that lifestyle didn’t have to be one Spartans would follow. I spent a few more bucks on home workout DVD’s and some basic equipment…even splurged for the overnight shipping and found another few bucks for the upgraded app. Weight dropped. Pant sizes went down. Bloodwork numbers returned to the normal range. Still there, too.

So I know I need to press on, but if you’re asking me on this rainy afternoon, I’d rather wait until some future Monday to get started. More to the point…

I’d rather take a pill…

…because the truth about me is that I don’t like the truths about me.