I am going to deviate from my normal ramblings about food and exercise struggles a little, but it will all make sense in the end (I hope).
The last couple of mornings walking I have started my walk with my daily Rosary. I started again because of my friends that I promised to pray for, but also for the soul of Bishop Vernon. I have been reflecting a lot since the news of his death. I have not been particularly close to the Bishop the last couple of years, but he was still important to me. I remember going to confession to him once and struggling to formulate why I was committing certain sins repeatedly. He asked me to reflect on the Deadly Sins. (He often asked me to go back to the basics, 10 commandments, Deadly sins, etc) But on this occassion he asked me to leave the confessional, sit for a while and reflect than come back in. No one has ever asked me to leave a confessional before.
I have used his advice often since that day. I think I was reflecting on that and on my current situation of obesity. Now some of you will say I am stretching to make a comparison but hear me out. Sin is at the root of a lot of our daily problems. Why do we struggle with money, relationships, work, friends? Just about anything that we struggle with can likely be found in our sinful nature. How could I pack on over 130 lbs in 15 years? (Hence the title, Twice the Men). That is easy; pick 3 of the Deadly sins, come on, you can guess which ones were at the root of my obesity. Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth.
I have posted in the past about going to confession for gluttony. I have never really done that before and I have been gluttonous for years. That is an obvious sin for my struggle, but lust and sloth? When I went to confession for gluttony, the priest gave me a book about controlling lust. When we hear that word we automatically go to a sexual place, but we can lust after all kinds of things. You see, it’s not bad to love food, and love all kinds of food, but it is downright sinful to lust after it. We joke about hearing a certain food, let’s say ribs, and we pretend to drool. But when I go to Alabama, there is no pretending when I think of Dreamland and their ribs. My mouth immediately starts to drool and I go out of my way to go there and get those ribs. So what, you might say, we all get cravings. But when those cravings drive us to spend money we don’t have or waste gas to get there, or cause rifts in relationships because you want to go there and not the stupid other rib joint that everyone else wants to go to. (Purely hypothetical, haha) that is when craving becomes lust, and sinful.
What about sloth, how does slothfulness come into play with obesity? That one is even easier than lust. Have you ever been lying on your couch watching TV, or reading a book, or surfing the internet, reading a blog, and dinnertime has come and gone? I have, lots of times. What then, the kids are all starving, crying for something. Do you take the time to make a nice healthy meal or do you say, I am just going to run up to the local pizza joint and order a pie? I can tell you right now that for the majority of my time on earth, pizza wins everytime. Am I too lazy to prepare something before hand (knowing my forgetful nature when I am into something good), or am I too lazy to go to the effort of preparing something nice, when convenience is so much easier? Years and years of this behaviour led to my belly. I used to joke (and sometimes still do) that I should have shirts made that say right on the front: Made by McDonald’s, or Harvey’s, or Burger King, or Coke, whatever your vice is! I simply got lazy, combine that with lust for food, and pure and simple gluttony, you get a 270lb man asking “how did this happen?”
But, you know what’s good, no, not good, great? Confession! Not only going to a priest and confessing sins like these, but confession in a general sense. This blog is like confession. Having Jason to weigh in with every week is like confession. Having all of you stop me at the grocery store or on the street or at the mall and say “way to go” or “should you be eating that” that is confession too. And it’s all good! Confession helps with another deadly sins, probably my worse offender, Pride. I know I put off weightloss for so long because of a fear of failing, and that fear is rooted in Pride. “What will peple think of me if I fail?” Now I simply confess it out loud for everyone to hear, and that is beyond freeing. This confession, blog, whatever you want to call it helps me be accountable to the sin of pride, and all those other deadly sins too. So thank you all for hearing my confession everyday. Thank you to the priests that hear my actual confession and for the gift of that sacrament. Thank you Bishop Vernon for making me take the time to seriously reflect on my life. All this confession does a body (and soul) good!