Pastoral Ponderings December 2014

Dear God,

I have to lose ten pounds. Yes, I know that you don’t think so. As you know I’m two hundred pounds of muscle and might…all wrapped up in a package of incredible good looks and humility. What a catch…or at least that’s what I keep telling my wife, Carm. She says the jury’s still out on that one.

Actually, I’m twenty pounds heavier, but nobody’s honest about their weight. (Two-hundred pounds seems to sound a lot better than two-hundred twenty pounds.) However, people always tell me, “You wear it well.” I guess that’s the same as saying, “You look good in red, green, and gold plaid”. But then I think, “Hey! Nobody looks good in red, green, and gold plaid!” Therefore, when people say, “You wear it well” I’m not sure it’s really a compliment of if they just like big men in plaid.

But then I start thinking of what that tonnage means. It means I’m twenty-one 10-pound bags of potatoes, or twenty-five 1-gallon jugs of milk. It means I’m made of enough butter to make fifty-five batches of chocolate chip cookies. (Of course, I NEVER make a single batch, so that is the “double-batch” figure.) It means I’m seventy-four bags of apples (with each bag holding nine apples) or six-hundred sixty-six apples. And since, in the book of Revelation, 666 is the symbol for the mark of the Beast/ Satan I can hear Jesus calling out, “Get behind me, Satan!” Or, in my case, “Weight”!

So, Lord, I’m now saying to myself, “Holy Buckets! You gotta lose some weight, Man!”

No big deal, huh? However, I’m fond of cupcakes and I’m thrilled when the Fellowship Committee orders brownies for coffee hour. And I think some of the guys may have wondered if the real reason I come to the Old Guys Work Day is because we have doughnuts and coffee afterwards. Ice cream is a favorite of mine…especially a cookie dough mixer from Culver’s, or a double-dip placed neatly in a chocolate-coated cone from the Dairy Haus. And you know, Lord, that I really, really like cookies …especially with a large glass from one of the twenty-five gallons of milk I represent.

There! NOW you see how complex this is. When you understand all that I’ve noted above you can appreciate that there is no reasonable manner in which I can really lose that ten pounds!

But then I think of a guy I was talking with a year ago. He’s an amiable, short, round, very over weight little guy (unlike my “mountain of muscle and might” status). He told me he needs new knees but says the VA won’t do it now because he’s too over weight. I listened to him complain about the VA, but then told him that I guess the ball was in his court to lose weight, but his response was, “How can they expect me to lose weight? It’s candy season! Halloween is here, and right after that is Thanksgiving and Christmas. They can’t expect me to lose weight this time of year!” He was serious!

Dang it! I hate when I have to hold a mirror up to my own face!

Why do I mention all of this? Because change requires responsibility. I’m the only one who can “slim down” to the weight of only twenty-four gallons of milk. I’m the only one who can shave the butter from five double-batches of chocolate cookies off of me. Well, you get the picture.

The problem is that I oftentimes don’t want to be held responsible for the changes I need to make. I’d rather just throw my hands in the air and say, “That’s just the way I am!”, or, “It’s too difficult!” And whenever possible I try to blame it on someone else. But I guess you’ve heard all those lines since you made us…not wanting to take responsibility for our words or actions. It’s just so much easier to think I’m a victim of circumstances, that someone else is to blame, or that change is just too hard. And sometimes we just get comfortable in our discomfort: we’d rather complain than change.

So maybe you can remind me that you’re standing there to help me make the changes in life that I need to make. I forget that sometimes, and sometimes feel as if I’m on my own to do the heavy- lifting. I too often forget to ask you for help in making the changes I need to make. So remind me, please, that you want me to make the changes I need to make and that I can call on you to help. Remind me that I’m not alone in this. I need your help and my hard work in order to change.

As always, thanks for listening. I’m on my way to get a coffee and something healthy like goat cheese or a rice cake. Then again, maybe I should just accept that I look good in plaid!

Dan