A Sloth’s Excuse?

In keeping the motif from yesterday’s musings, I decided to write about why I don’t go to the gym, or rather to chronicle my excuses for not exercising.

Backstory:  I’m a mother.  I work full time.  I nurse an infant.  I chase after a toddler.  My daughters are 16 months apart, a comic masterpiece from God I’m led to believe.  [My sister and I, who’ve had a tumultuous relationship as I can best describe without leaving myself too vulnerable for the judgments of the internet’s space, are 16 months apart. Ah, run-on sentences and fragments, sorry.] My infant night nurses and my toddler frequently has nightmares or simply doesn’t want to be alone.  When my toddler rises at night, finding herself without companionship in her bed, she wanders into our door-less master bedroom and climbs into the warmth and comfort of other slumbering bodies.  Then, of course, I stir and can’t sleep.  I’m inadvertently kicked in the face or shoved to the edge.  I, in sunshine’s stirring, arise, bleary eyed as I trudge through the day.

As part of an idolatrous, self-indulging morning, I peruse Facebook.  I see a constant feed of selfies and meals, frequently at the gym and heaping plates of fad diet-inspired creations.  I judge.  Perhaps this bemoaning is my disdain for dieting due to a checkered childhood history of observing failed dieting and the repercussions negative self-image played in my family.  Maybe there is a slight guilt over my sedentary night practices as I recline and watch one too many episodes of Netflix’s current binges.  While it isn’t always true, there is a very real comment, “that which you are inclined to judge in others is what you hate most in your own life.”

Maybe I don’t like all the pictures of healthy creations because I am ashamed that I lack self-control.  Seeing those reels are an affront to my sin of indulgence and I realize I’m still hoarding this sin rather than surrendering it to God.  I throw myself a pity party.  Parties are fun though, right?

The constant thread of gym attendance from friends jeopardizes my comfort with slothfulness.  I claim fatigue, and while it is true, if I changed my eating behavior [I’m again reminded of those endless recipes plastered on my news feed] and actually worked out, I might find the energy I claim I’m lacking.

I know I need change.  Sadly, my criticisms are shining a light on the reality that I comment and critique because I am not where and what I want to be.  I know I need change.  We can use the excuse that we need to rely on God so we can continue in our apathetic monotony.  Yes, we need God and he is the one who can give us energy when we think we have none, but we must also give action to our voiced prayers.  If we think we need change, pray and start moving.  May I stop criticizing what others post on Facebook.  Rather, may I use it as a catalyst to change behaviors in myself I find lacking or obnoxious.  As I act, may I continually pray because I know permanent change isn’t possible without the power of the Holy Spirit to defeat constant temptation.

Will you help me by holding me accountable?  Where have you noticed you criticized others because gossip and judgment is easier than rectifying your own faults?

Also, I realize my backstory highlights the reasons I’ve used for not going to the gym and not preparing more nutritious meals.  Yet, I also admit that I do think it is absurd to pay for something God has given me freely through creation (like paying for a gym membership and diet designed meal plans), if only I do my part and play in God’s beautiful playground.

 

An Illusion Fad

Forks are laid to rest while fasting takes its grip.

When gnawing resumes,copious meat’s inhaled.

Cars idle as the bags are packed,

stuffed full of towels, sweatsuits, and headbands.

Then in gridlocked traffic,

fists clench wheels

and grumblings ensue.

The metal race begins,

each driver battling for the perfect parking spot

so they can lay claim to the fastest stationed bike

or oiled treadmill.

Paths are forged in a forest,

but in American comfort we rip down trees,

paving the earth

to build facilities rather than utilize the terrain God created for balanced health.

In a society obsessed with organic,

we’ve processed our fitness and meals.

We lift fashioned weights

while wood isn’t chopped for winter’s store,

water isn’t hauled for summer’s reserve,

and soil isn’t turned for spring’s planting or fall’s harvest.

We run in place with buds in our ears,

plastering selfies of gym attendance,

while our children are commissioned out for supervision and supervising

in a plastic filled bubble.

Conversations are wrought with anxiety and fear.

We can’t pay the mortgage

but our membership fees aren’t skipped.

Our Judaeo-Christian based origins were supposed to be radical,

momentum for love, sacrifice, and charity.

Idolatry, like usual, has bested us.

We love ourselves,

posting our achievements in a search for public recognition, fame, and applause.

We sacrifice our time with others to squeeze in personal body sculpting.

We hoard our dividends, fearful we won’t have enough for our own indulgences.

Individuality has resulted in conformity,

each person driven to look the best

rather than feel and change the world for the better.

Men and women walk around stressed.

We think we’re enlightened,

but we’ve snuffed out the light.

We no longer work to sustain daily bread,

but rather toil away for new gadgets and games.

When will we stop burning the wick,

finding rest in some silence?

When will we realize community’s fellowship is in working to put food on the table,

not cash for a convenience purchase,

but the work of dirt under nails?

Finally recognizing the planting and sowing of a supper’s bounty

is from the hands of God who provides

in seasons of drought and precipitation.

Let us stop manufacturing tools to mold the body and

scripting media to form human relationships.

Break bread you have baked from wheat fields personally harvested

and watch muscles bulge from the products of manual labor,

the labor that actually puts roofs over your head, food in your belly, and a fire in the hearth.

 

*Now I realize sin and idolatry can crop up in a return to simplicity too.  I’m just aghast at the number of gyms we have built and the food we’ve stocked on our shelves.

God has given us a vast array of natural paths to meander.  There is also a large supply of wild edibles.  Today, we don’t know how to find food unless it is in appealing packaging and put on a store’s shelf.  I know that processed food has helped to alleviate hunger.  When we are dependent on seasons for crop growth, we can suffer the feeling of an empty belly.  However, maybe we wouldn’t hoard and observe morbid obesity skyrocketing in this country if we were more self-reliant (or truthfully, God-reliant) for our nutritive means.

We are also paying to exercise when we could simply go outside for a jog, build muscles by sowing and reaping food from a garden, carrying and/or playing with our kids, or warming our houses by shoveling pellets or chopping down wood.

We also think that we are far more connected in community through screens, but in reality, we are putting up shields from real and authentic community.  We’re loosing a valuable asset of fellowship:  vulnerability.  Here, in the digital web, we can spin whatever image of ourselves we want, hiding true thought.  So much language is lost when the physical body is removed.  Many conversations go misunderstood by being misconstrued.

I sit baffled.  I’m not faultless by any means.  There is sin in simplicity too.  I recognize the underpinnings of pride as I judge surplus and excess.  The proper balance hasn’t materialized.  To that end, I apologize.  [Anyone who knows me would realize the irony in yet another “sorry”.]

Yet, there is a freedom from minimalism.  Removing clutter, we can be filled with more time for God and authentic relationships.  Appreciating manual labor and simply being active can provide the means for healthy bodies, rather than the imagined health gleaned from controlled environments of exercise.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  What have your experiences been?  Do you find it absurd that we deplete our bank accounts to pay for stuff provided for us in nature by God, our Jehovah-Jireh?

A Pearly Pit

A mouth stands agape

while hands grip the perceived porcelain sanctuary.

Eyes stream tears

and salt etches regret upon pale cheeks.

A bowed head raises and

on shaky feet starts forward once more.

The thespian unlocks the door,

a smile pressed forcefully to parched lips.

All the world’s a stage,

and her a player,

leaving peers perplexed and unsuspecting.

***thinking of a suitable title and finding it unsuitable…

[Revisions need to take place in writing and in parallel, life.  Grammar has bested me; no longer a friend.  Apologies.]

 

Strawberry Fields

Succulent scarlet glistens,

its speckled flesh prickling in

the thick summer day.

Tiny seeds bud

for long tips to pull the stem.

Little digits fumble.

Finally, they curl, grasping the head.

Plucked.

Teeth sink into the ripened flesh.

Ruby rivers dribble down,

dripping from a chin,

and in its end, replenishes the soil from which it sprang.

 

 

The Blood Goblet

Hear the news,

an oddity to the norm,

but great treasure to those who hear and find.

You writhe and wail,

beating your breast

as your body swells

and lets.

Poured out,

empty,

searching.

You were once a stench in a land with dripping sackcloth.

Now take and insert a truth most, especially Westerners, find repulsive.

The adjustment period will last a few cycles,

but a dawn is coming when you will forget the days of old;

Days filled with rubbish depravity.

You’ll discover the minor investment

pays grand dividends.

No longer will you feel the grime

of reeking cotton and clumped flesh.

In fact, you may even forget the device

which enables a woman to go forth to a fuller, less stressful life.

Although the curse ushered forth pain for the woman,

there is something that will alleviate the ordeal slightly.

If anything, it makes the process bearable.

For if this is my lot

I’ll purchase a box

that affords me reprieve from frequent changes and constant odor.

So to all women in my like state,

I pass on this message:

Find and buy a “goblet for blood”—a menstrual cup.

[This is not what you anticipated, I’m sure.  The cup is a little bit of menstrual salvation in my opinion, if that counts for anything.  Hopefully this doesn’t sound like heresy since I’m making this device sound seemingly like the Holy Grail.  This is probably one of the reasons I shouldn’t be allowed on the internet and be forced into off-grid living.]

 

Diaper Changing/Toilet Training Saga

Once you become a parent it feels as if most of your conversations revolve around bowl movements.  Its true, they are.  Release frequency is indicative of how well a child is feeding.  These things are important.  I just never realized how much I’d be mucking in this particular conversational sphere.  Come and join my conversation and hear the tales: the amusement mixed with woe.

In Western society, it is known that when you have children, you’ll have to change diapers.  What is not frequently discussed are the idiosyncrasies and craziness that can ensue, especially with toddlers in diapers.  This is a brief collection of recent happenings in the world of diaper changes and toilet use.

Recently, I tweeted that my toddler was throwing a tantrum because her sister was getting a diaper change first.  Yes, apparently, attending to the needs of your other child is a personal affront to the eldest.  This is not the only tantrum episode in diaper changes.  Tantrums happen because:

1.) She wants to be changed on the floor.  You go to change her on the floor.  You picked the WRONG SECTION of floor.

2.) She wants to be changed on the bed.

3.) The changing pad is too cold.

4.) She wants to be naked.

5.) She wants to be diapered and you are taking too long.

6.) The diaper has the wrong character.

7.) You didn’t put on diaper cream.

8.) You did put on diaper cream.

9.) She doesn’t use the potty at home, but needs to when you are 1/4 mile away from a restroom at a park (and we reside in a society where it is impolite to just find a tree).

10.) You take her to the bathroom.  You are in the stall.  She doesn’t want to use the big potty (unlike at home where she insists on using it, especially when you are using it).  You tell her there isn’t a little potty.  The toilet in the adjacent stall is acceptable.

Yes, those are just a few of the cases where crying outbursts have occurred.  There have been more.  There will be more.  While I write, seemingly annoyed, please know that I also laugh.  There is never a dull moment.  There is never a lack of entertainment.  Sometimes you wish for a slower pace, for absolute peace and quiet, for an easy diaper change or toilet use scenario.  However, you know that this mundane trudging somehow brings you greater into God’s fold.

You have to sigh and practice patience.  You have to realize that these tantrums might be a reflection of how you react in predicaments and alter your behavior.  (I say this because I know my child’s outbursts are a mirror to my own unrepentant sin and while I hate it, it is good and necessary.)  You have to laugh at the challenges and trust that God will equip you to react correctly.

It seems then:

excrement is making you more righteous.

 

The Corridor to Belief

The chatter resonates off of plain-painted walls.

Friends gathered, communing.

Bread broken and water sipped,

a fellowship of souls.

Normally an extrovert thrives,

Excitedly joining in the bustle of conversation.

Today, from the sidelines, an observation is made.

There appears to be seemingly endless seasons of good-byes

and illness ticking its toll on weary souls.

The six or so ticks embedded in a child’s flesh

suck her blood and in the same gulp,

resolve.

Faces dripping with festered blisters,

scalps scabbed from picked pincers,

lungs rattled with fluid,

and friends’ bodies swallowing dirt

tire Christian pilgrims.

Clinging to the cross,

the only hope and promise that salty etched faces

will glow with wonder again.

Christ never promised a life without suffering,

but its hard to press in to press on.

Growing up in red, white, and blue

We’ve drank the cup of lies,

the promises of comfort if only you strive.

Some labor and find the system beaten,

and the laborer’s disposition descends embittered.

A heart calloused,

surrendered, but still feeling an empty void.

Blunt objects imprint the skin,

finally prickling in sensation

to a mind and body gone numb.

Reciting verses and singing a song

haven’t erased elusive eschatology.

Church states with faith enough

you’ll reside in lighted peace,

a joy ushering praise.

What do you do when that all seems but a dream?

When you hope one day to arise from a nightmare of disillusioned faith?

When you finally wake into authentic reality

where Christ reigns

and our palettes aren’t spooned trivialities?

*Could use editing for comprehension.  The flow is pretty good, from personal opinion.  Title could be more inviting.  An anxious mind, though fluidly expressive, sometimes does so at the expense of sense.

 

A Tribute to Mitzie

Black, speckled with gray,

tufts of fur lay dormant, pooled and dusty in the corner.

Children’s leftovers coat the kitchen tiles,

cleaning time delayed.

The air is silent,

tags hanging on the hook,

no longer jingling as you pace.

In the morning, slumber lingers.

Dusk and the deadbolt’s tightened,

no longer fastened in night’s darker hours.

The cushion is folded, resting in the little available crevice.

Bowls of food and water sit full,

unable to be discarded just yet.

It is always hardest on those left behind,

those who must press forward;

The ones experiencing the void that presence used to fill.

Now clenched fingers that grasped fur

fold to praying hands.

Whispers echo on the walls

with knees bent in salted pools scattered on the floor.

Now we mourn but as hands tick

memory’s recall balms the rifted heart.

We then go forth from mourning

to share stories of life’s present with other comrades;

together, entertaining dreams, envisioning eternity of

tossing balls and a reunion with our friend.

*Unedited because I just can’t think of how to properly express this dichotomy of grief and joy; a life well spent, life lost, but a life now eternally without pain.  Rather, the time to sit and ruminate on a proper craft might bring increased distress. Instead I’ll pour out emotion, leaving it there at the foot of the cross; a pleading prayer to heal a hurting heart. As such, I might continue the work I’m called to rather than dwell in sorrow.

 

 

Zombie Apocalypse

Gadgets-

Draining observation.

Conversations ceasing with

apathetic authenticity.

Adolescents are absorbed,

Elders edge engrossed,

Infants intently immersed.

Slowly ticking

towards subversion.

We pool collective,

losing individuality

and critical thought.

Entangled in the web,

Zoning, tripping, breaking.

Locked in the grid,

slave to the code’s grind

that eats away community

with illusions

and stamps damnation to our heads.

It’s too noisy to hear the small voice calling,

pleading pardon’s permission

when sins go

recanted or repented,

and where worship waxes

with love for God above all else

and our neighbor as thyself.

 

Some editing could be applied but I’m not sure what to do quite yet.  I’ve been too addicted to blogging and social media.  I need to get away.

I keep telling my husband something has got to change.  I want a moment of stillness, of silence so I can regroup, recharge, and reconnect with God.  I fear I’m treading with the masses.  How do I look any different than the agnostic in modern day America?

I want change, I need change.  It has to start within.  I’m not sure how to transform other than I need to sit at the foot of the throne.  I ‘m not finding the space to do that when I’m grinding away at a job that peels me away from my kids, simply to pay the debt I probably dug myself in to when the cycle all began.  I’m tempted to throw caution to the wind, selling all possessions and traversing the world.  Am I too concerned with my parents and society’s approval?  There is something to be said about the responsibilities I have now.  Am I truly listening for God?  If so, surely contentment can be found in where I’m currently positioned. I shouldn’t need to escape.

In fact, the WWW does just that.  We escape—ourselves, others, and in turn, authenticity.  We can pretend.  We can judge more easily.  When interacting face-to-face, we typically tread cautiously, usually more aware that humanity stands before us.  I feel like I’m dying, and not to myself as Christ commands me to.  I’m puffing up in pride and in turn, I’m noticing my precious faith plummeting, unnecessarily challenged by myself.

Dear God, I want to let go of that which I have thought dear, but in truth, is idolatry.  I need to get to a quiet space, early in the morning so I can converse with God.  That space doesn’t require a trip around the world, but just might very well be between the crevices of my couch.  I need to replace complaining with gratitude and criticism with encouragement; isn’t that what talents you have given me?  Why have I abused them so?  Oh God forgive and please, come quickly so I escape this ‘apocalypse’.

 

 

 

Breaking into Moneyless

Laying down the green

to turf instead to toil.

Over bread breaking

a community assists.

Shackles of silver

no longer bind me to gold

and make me envy,

coveting a neighbor’s possession.

In letting go,

forsaking earthly temptations

and pleasures,

the soul finds room to breathe,

to explore.

In denying materials,

even that of imaginary or placed value,

you’ll find all that you ever did need.