From the Psalter:
Your hands have made me and fashioned me . . . .
(From the Daily Office Lectionary – Psalm 119:73a (BCP Version) – June 12, 2013.)
I started to write a meditation about St. Paul’s arrogance (today’s epistle lesson is one of his bits of baggadocio that always annoys me. So when I reviewed today’s lessons yesterday, that’s what caught my eye.
But then, last night, my wife and I went out to dinner. One of the local restaurants has added a “heart-smart” vegan menu to its line-up of extremely expensive steaks and seafood. Since our children are vegans we are always on the look out for places where we can take them out to dinner when they visit us. We decided to check it out. I had the vegan burger. It was very good and not unreasonably priced. (My gin martini up with a twist and my wife’s glass of merely passable old vine Zinfandel, those were unreasonably priced!)
After eating we walked back to our car parked about a block away, which meant that we had to work past several plate-glass-window fronted restaurants and other stores. I got a look at my reflection.
I’m fat. I hate to say that. I hate the words; I hate the condition. But I’m fat. I’m an old man with a large gut.
So this morning, I sat down to write that reflection about how Paul is a braggart . . . but when I read again all the selections of Scripture for today, the first half of the first verse of the evening psalm was what got my attention.
“Your hands have made me and fashioned me . . . .” Well great, God! Couldn’t you have done a better job? I’ve fought excess weight all my life! When I was preparing to enter the ordained ministry, going through the screening and “discernment” process, the psychologist I had to meet with put in his report to my bishop that I had “a tendency to build weight.” A tendency!!!???!!! Hell, yes! More than a tendency. No matter what I do . . . I get fat.
I’m what the weight loss industry calls a yo-yo dieter. I follow some weight loss program, lose a little bit (sometimes a lot), but I can’t maintain the loss and gain back the weight, and then some. And I’ve tried all the options – Weight Watchers (in several of its incarnations – exchanges, points, calories, whatever), physician-supervised fasts, protein-sparing fasts, Atkins, South Beach, Dr. Fuhrman, you name it. Lose weight, gain it back, get fatter.
And I do my best to stay reasonably active. I’m not a sportsman of any sort. I don’t run (bad feet and ankles make that impossible) and even walking is sometimes difficult. But I know I need to increase my activity level.
I have to do something about this. I hate being fat! Your hands have made me and fashioned me, God. Help me get to a healthy weight! Please!
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Father Funston is the rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Medina, Ohio.