I need to go to the gym. That’s not a huge revelation for anyone who sees me on a regular basis. The good news is that I actually belong to a gym. It rather humorous to even write that phrase down. A gym membership is one of those luxuries that I had always looked down upon as frivolous. I looked on those with “gym” memberships the same way that I looked on those who had their shirts cleaned, pressed, and starched and then picked up once a week, only to begin the whole absurd process over again. I now take my shirts out to be done. And while I’m confessing life on a different plane of consumerism, I’ll also let it out that we shop at a local “Natural…designer” pet store for my ridiculous cat. Her food costs more per ounce than my own. How the mighty have fallen. Anyway, back to the gym. Since I have this membership, and pay monthly for it, I feel the need to use it. My wife and I have had memberships together for about 6 months now. The hardest part about the gym is not the treadmill, the weights, the stair-creature or anything that one may encounter there. The hardest thing is actually getting there with any regularity. The only thing that gives me peace is that, once inside the guys locker room and shower area, it’s readily and disturbingly apparent that some people have an even more difficult time of getting there regularly than I do.
I’m not sure what it is that inspires men to think that the bigger they become, the smaller their shorts need to be. I mean, after all, people in clothing manufacturing go to great lengths to put sizes in the labels. I know that I shouldn’t think this way because, in my life, judgments have a tendency to become curses. Before I know it, I am one. Remember the shirts I always say. All of this, in some way, the shorts, the shirts, the gym, involve discipline. I need that. Actually I’m not sure if it’s discipline or routine. When the routine is there, the discipline follows right behind. On the other hand, if the routine gets broken, then its discipline that’s needed to get the routine back on track. There seems to be a parallel working. Right now, my routine has been broken twice in the past 3 months for extended periods. First it was a sprained ankle that kept me out for a week. Although I must say that I fought through it and returned much sooner that others half my age with multi- billion dollar contracts would have. Most recently the routine was broken again with a back injury. My wife has tried encouraging me to try her physical therapist induced water aerobics class at the gym. I’d rather not, but I’m not saying anything more than “no thank you” lest I encourage another curse.
My physical health parallels my spiritual journey in some very interesting ways. Again, it seems to be a tension between routine and discipline. I need discipline to establish routine and then routine increases discipline. Just like my gym attendance, I’ve never been able to be consistent in my “God-class” attendance. I’m sure when the role is called on many days and my “here” is not recorded, that my presence is missed. It’s not that the days objectives cannot be met, but it may not be as complete as He’d have envisioned it. It’s not that I don’t want to be there. I really do everyday, and not because I’m paying for it. There are some days that I ache for time spent in His presence, even if for nothing more than assurance that I matter. I matter with no regard to how big or small my shorts are. I am worth something even if my biceps aren’t where they were designed to be.
The difference, between spiritual and physical health, is profound. When I’m at the gym, I’m not sure whether or not its doing any good, but I feel that I’m at least contributing. I’ve paid for it and I’m inherently cheap so I want to get my moneys worth. Sometimes that is the only discipline that drives me back to the routine of working on it. I have a faith membership. When I work on it, I’m not always sure how much good its doing, but I feel that I’m contributing. The motivation is different though. I’m not driven by financial responsibility. I’m driven by gratitude. My faith membership is not something that I have electronically withdrawn every month. It’s already been paid in full.