As good Catholics, we all recognize that our bodies are a gift from God and an integral part of our person, right? Or do we, as average people, take these meaty things for granted?
I'm more of the take me for granted type. I know that God gave me this gift of life. I know that my soul will be the first part of me to get to Heaven if I'm good and if I ever make it out of Purgatory, and my body will join with me again in a perfected form after the end of time. Well, all that is so good to know, but...
It's just so easy to take a body for granted. Here she sits, typing. She's a little tired and could use a nice bath and a good night's sleep, but she'll hang out with me while I finish this thought. She always does. I know she'll forgive me, she's so easy going. Really, the only time she ever raises a fuss about how I treat her is when I've been terribly neglectful and she takes some time off to fight a virus.
Well, I've been rethinking this whole relationship lately. She's been getting a bit grumpy, and I must admit, a little frumpy, too. So we've entered into an arrangement of sorts. I'll let her exercise and have a little fun in the sun, if she'll not let me get too bored.
That's my only real problem with exercise. I just get so blasted bored. I'm not a fan of television, so I can't just send the mind on a television vacation while I work out. I also don't like the idea of being unproductive during that time. Oh, I know the score: I'm focusing on me; exercise is it's own reward. (Yawn!) It's just that I can't abide NOT multitasking. Why isn't there a way to dash off a few dozen crunches and fold the towels? That's something I could mentally justify:
"What did you do today, honey?"
"Oh, I just polished off the laundry, and hey! Check out my six-pack!"
Since that is probably never going to happen, I had to come up with an alternate plan. A Catholic Plan.
Let me just explain that I not-so-secretly delight in my Catholicism: I'm a Catholic convert in the Bible Belt, all of my relatives are Protestant, and I have the audacity to actually have FOUR KIDS. Everyone I know has already written me off as hopeless. It is actually quite fun to be so ordinary and so shocking all at the same time. I can be outrageous and never have to set foot in a Confessional. Well, not for being Catholic anyway.
So, back to my plan.
I hate to exercise, right? So what do Catholics do with the stuff we really ought to do, but really hate? We offer it up! Cool! (Don't you just love it that Catholics have been around for so long that they've got an answer for just about everything?) I can offer up all my suffering, the sore muscles, the boredom, the time I'd rather spend doing "more important stuff," for the good of mankind. Or for pro-life. Ooo! Or to convert people, hey! Wouldn't that be annoying if it got out? Hee!
So now I've put a touch of secret glee into my workout I can at least have a little motivation to start me up. Now, I need a goal. I could be like J. Lo. and train for a triathlon. I just love that picture of her at the end of hers when she looked all tired and triumphant holding her bike. I could see me doing that. I could even practice my tired, triumphant look in the mirror. But the exercise needs more nobility than, "I wanted to, so I did," for it to fit in the Catholic theme. Plus I'm thinking it's an awful long way to the nearest pool. Over 20 miles. It seems a little silly to go through all that gas to get down the road in order to move my body. Why not just cut out the car and move me down the road?
That means running. Even I have heard of 5K runs. That translates to 3 miles. 5K runs always have a charity attached to them, too. I could do that! With a little Googling I discovered a charity 5K run close to my heart as an adoptive, foster, and birth mommy. It's for the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)! These men and women speak for the children and their best interests when they have to deal with legal issues while in the foster care system. The CASA volunteer who handled the hearings, reviews, and court cases for my now adopted daughter still keeps in touch. I'd love to help fund that worthy cause. The 5K happens in April. I could run 3 miles well enough to race someone in a year's time.
So now I'm running. It takes me about 20 minutes to warm up, cool down, and run a measly mile. I hate it, so I imagine souls just flying out of Purgatory as I wheeze and sweat. I imagine beautiful scenes of fallen away Catholics coming home to the faith, and I pray. With God, all things are possible, and with God, this chubby Catholic Chick fast approaching middle age can run a 5K and raise a few dollars for a worthy cause.
With God, I can get my body moving and keep it going. With God as my ultimate goal, I think I might even enjoy it.