Monday, August 29, 2011


Finally – it was time for the physical.  …and I was not ready.

Y’see, with all the apparent “false starts”, when even a glimmer of hope would appear for resolution to one of the roadblocks, I didn’t want to get my hopes up for fear they’d just be disappointed again.  So in the weeks leading up to the green light, I had quit running, I had quit trying to eat as healthy as I had been; I had just stopped trying.  But clearly, God had not given up.

When I did get the green light, I weighed myself and realized I would not meet the standards for my height and weight.  I was either going to have to grow a few inches or I was going to have to bust my butt for a week to try and drop about ten pounds – and I am fresh out of accelerated growth hormones.  Now, I’ve dropped weight like this before – about ten years ago. 

Over the course of four years in college I gained 60 pounds more than what I had weighed my senior year of high school.  About a year or so after graduation I was introduced to Dance Dance Revolution; it was love at first step.  So, I bought DDR Maxx and then DDR Maxx 2 for the PlayStation 2 and for about three months just busted it.  I was also more mindful of what I ate and in three months’ time was about five pounds away from my high school weight.  However, I didn’t keep it off.

That’s another thing – I find it difficult to change my lifestyle sometimes.  Anyone else have this problem?  Like with the weight – or with money.  You get yourself into a pinch, you work it out with some blood, sweat and tears, then after a few months you’re back in the same old patterns.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Can I get a witness or is it just me?

Anyway, in times since, whenever I’ve needed to drop some poundage I’d just cut out sweets, dance it up, and about a week later I’d be ten pounds lighter. 

So then this prospect of joining the Navy came up.  I got the green light for the physical.  Hoo boy, my metabolism ain’t what it used to be.  And my body is not 21 anymore.  When I first started jogging back in March, I had epic shin splints – after only about five minutes of jogging – not even half a mile.  When I knew I’d be going in for the physical, I started running again; two, sometimes three times a day; about 1.6 miles a shot according to Google Maps.  I cut out all junk food and drink.  Did the Slim-Fast thing for a few days.  I mean, I ate; I didn’t starve myself, just drastically reduced portions and only healthy food.

I started this process on a Wednesday and by Saturday I was down five pounds.  Woohoo!  Five more to go in just a few days!  Well – I believe I hit what you’d call a plateau.  And by Saturday, I was tired.  So I didn’t really do much Saturday or Sunday.  On Monday, I was weighed at the recruiting station – four pounds over.  ARGH!  Well, I still had that evening to bust it out.

Now, a curious thing: before you go off to have your physical or be shipped out with the military, they have you stay at a hotel the night before.  So a bunch of us were sequestered at the Crowne Plaza in Columbus.  They had a workout room there with ellipticals, treadmills and the like, but on my way over, I had a brainwave.  I stopped by a grocery store and picked up some Ex-Lax.  I mean, seriously, why not?  There is a difference between weights pre- and post-toileting.

Thing is, those little chocolate, Ex-Lax…tablets?  Whatever – they’re small.  They’re infinitesimal.  They’re tiny.  The box says take two daily.  I’m thinking, really?  So, I took four.

That night I went for a jog around the hotel’s vicinity; spent some time on a treadmill; and then had an unpleasant experience around 1AM – and we had to wake up at 4.  Post-unpleasant experience I was more or less fine; but there was a lingering pit in my stomach that I knew didn’t come from nerves – I know what that kind of pit feels like.  Thankfully, by 6 it had disappeared.

So, then…!  The time came for weighing in; I stood nervously on the scale – had it all paid off?  I glanced at the scale reading and my heart leapt to my throat.  The gentleman in charge scribbled something on my chart, handed it back to me and said, “Just be sure to stay in shape.”  I was walking about a foot off the ground the rest of the day.

Now, that’s great.  It was quite an experience, but it made me think: what if I had been jogging regularly and eating healthily all along?  Even though I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be, I had enlistment as my goal.  Instead, I frequently lost faith and dropped the ball, picking it up barely in time.  There were moments, especially in looking back now, where I sensed this is what God wants for me, this is His plan; but I was not acting in faith, I was not planning ahead and acting accordingly.

It made me think of the parable of the ten virgins.  It also made me think of every other Scripture verse I’ve read where we’re told to keep watch, or be ready for Jesus’ return.  I mean, y’know, that’s really going to happen.  Yeah, it’s been so long and there have been several “false starts” that it’s easy to get discouraged, but it really and truly is going to happen.  I reckon the question we all oughta ask ourselves is: do I only believe when His return feels imminent or do I believe all the time?  Am I a fan only when my team is doing well or do I root for ‘em even if they’re having an awful season?

Will I be preparing myself even when it feels pointless or will I try to cram a lifetime of faithfulness into ten minutes?

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