I've been following Chris's blog for a few months now ('A Deliberate Life') and I always find it to be thought provoking and very meaningful. I don't know how she does it to be honest...she's busy, but she always finds the time to think and to share something of meaning...
Tonight I was catching up with the last weeks posts and I felt a great appreciation for her insights, but then when I read her most recent post and played the clip I found it really was timely for me in my life and it resonated also with our weight loss journeys.
Firstly her post was religious in nature...now I'm hideously cynical...especially around religious evangelism...do not come to my door preaching, or accost me in the street...I'll be polite always, and respect your views, but I have barriers erected to your message. It's probably only that I have a lot of respect for Chris and her non-judgemental approach to life that I could lower my barriers so much.
I saw a man in the street this weekend with a huge sign saying basically 'the end is nigh' I walked the long way around him, even though in the back of my mind I agreed with his message that we should be ready and always live our lives as though the end was nigh, basically getting our priorities right and being the best human being we can be.
I was brought up as a strict Catholic. I went to church every Sunday, I read at mass regularly and was involved in my parish. It wasn't until I reached my 20's that I started to question the doctrines laid down and decided that many of the rules were arbitrarily laid down by an evolving church based on money and power across medieval times and someone who couldn't see into my heart was judging me by these very ridgid and often socially inappropriate rules.
It wasn't that I stopped believing in God, but I did feel that I just wasn't sure anymore what to believe in.
For years I haven't practiced any structured faith system. I've gotten along just fine, thank you very much.
But, for the last few years I've felt a hole...something is missing and I couldn't work out what it was. I had my own business for a few years and that was great, but the stress was killing me so I sold it on. Following that I was definately empty and nothing has materialised to fill that void. Eventually I got a job to make me forget that I was empty...that has worked for a couple of years...kind of. But lately I've been feeling sad. Why? I don't know. I shouldn't be sad. I have 'a great life'. A wonderful husband, two wonderful boys, a job, a great house, two great cars, a farm house to do up. All I could think of was ways to strive for more stuff....this must be it right??? No...it means nothing...it's all hollow and empty. All the good stuff means nothing. My brain has been gradually coming to the realisation that all the physical stuff is worthless and our lives mean nothing if that's all we achieve. I can't say I've yet decided what to do about these scary thoughts...in fact that's why I related them back to dieting and weight loss...We go to the doctor, we read the literature about the health risks of obesity, but we don't want to compute what this may mean to our lives...the discomfort of making changes...making sacrifices and making effort to change. UUUuuuugggghhh. That's just plain scary and it's a message we may not be ready or willing to hear.
I listened to the clip of the preacher that Chris had posted on her blog and tears were streaming unconsciously down my face. I normally would block that kind of thing as extremist clap-trap. But this time I realised it was true. We should feel passionate about our love of God and our love of our fellow man and our need to do right in the world. Not luke-warm...but passionate. This was uncomfortable stuff to hear...because I knew it was right and I had known it ever since I had my first son. He was a tiny baby in my arms and I watched the footage of the famines in Africa...mothers unable to feed their own babies and I felt true guilt. How could I sit there and watch that kind of suffering whilst I had money in the bank and do nothing. It was just plain wrong! It's wrong whether you believe in God or not...we should have passion for other human beings.
The clip said that 'God is not a yuppie accessory' He's not something to add to your already perfect life once you have the right house, car and job...those things are meaningless.
I'm not saying I'm going to ditch those things and become a missionary...heck by next Sunday I'll probably have managed to push those uncomfortable thoughts aside in my busy day...but it made me think today...and it added to the thought I had yesterday. I even had a discussion with a colleague at work about how we can make our lives more meaningful just last week. The fact is at the moment, I'm just not ready to make any real changes to my life. I'm still in the denial stage...like the people who go to see their doctor complaining about their weight, but full of excuses about why they can't possibly do anything to change it...food for thought.