Monday, February 18, 2013

Lent Day 5: Good habits matter

We sped up to Canada to see our parents Saturday. Mom was shedding things from her craft room, her repository for sewing, knitting, and crocheting supplies for 40 years. The room has always been tidy, even packed stem to stern with supplies. Mom's "a neat packrat," according to her own description.

Over several weeks, my mother tackled the bulk of the room, organizing books, patterns, and fabrics into boxes and cabinets. She and I took everything off the pegboard hooks on the notions wall. We sorted zippers, needles, cording, and hobby tools into "keep" and giveaway piles.

With one or two packages of each thing, the wall looks much neater: Mom can see what she has. There's even a special area on the pegboard wall for Adelina, the granddaughter who loves crafting. What a treat she'll find on her next visit, with chenille stems, silk flowers, and ribbons ready for play!

Once we were done, my folks took us to their home gym in the basement. "Your father got a new treadmill. You should see this! Just what we need. One more piece of equipment," my mother shook her head.

[I've been thinking about our bodies as habitations of the Spirit. Keep this in mind as you continue: Dad's a spry 80 years old. Mom's a fit 77.]

"I work out on that 20 minutes a day," Dad said, pointing to a stair-stepper. He also uses the treadmill, eliptical, and a rowing machine. It's a true home gym, used daily! rather than gathering dust.

Meanwhile, Mom walks. A lot. (Her pedometer recorded 16,000+ steps Thursday and the same again by Friday evening.) Behind their house, a berm restrains a small slough that floods annually. The gravel path on the berm is the perfect river walking trail for the neighborhood. (My mom also lifts light weights. She does hundreds of reps when she gets going.)

My folks formed good exercise habits as young adults, reinforced by genetically-German discipline. I remember Dad calling us kids to do the RCAF workout in the living room. Awful pushups and situps. Jumping Jacks, jogging in place, and torturous leg raises. He snorkeled at the local lake after work every summer. (Is that where I got my love of swimming?) Dad kept working out after we left home: his habit of movement has kept him in good condition into his 80s.

Our parents don't eat out a lot. Mom's been the primary cook, serving her family real food (not packaged or pre-made for warmup). Saturday nights when we were youngsters, Dad's gave Mom a break by taking his chef rotation. He had two specialties: pork and onions or spaghetti and meatballs (not the healthiest, maybe?) We kids thought both options were delicious.

I'm amazed when I see my folks. They're fit, healthy, and going strong. Dad and Mom continue to learn new things, their minds sharp as they keep their bodies in shape.

My brothers and I are grateful, both for our parents' efforts and God's grace. Our folks have outlived many of their friends who neglected their health. We recognize that God provides daily sustenance. We pray for his intervention and help, regardless of our natural physical prowess (like the warriors in the scripture below).

However, taking care of yourself helps in the long run. Watch this startling video from the Heart & Stroke Foundation as you make your choices today. The quality of your last years may depend on your current habits!

Lent means giving up something dear to remember all Christ suffered. Perhaps it's a good time to think about how we treat our bodies. As whole persons (body, soul, and spirit), undivided in our service to God, surely He holds us accountable for caring for this treasure of physical presence on earth. Do you agree or disagree?

Read more:

*How then could I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Genesis 39:9

*There were 44,760 capable warriors in the armies of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. They were all skilled in combat and armed with shields, swords, and bows. They waged war against the Hagrites, the Jeturites, the Naphishites, and the Nodabites. They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him. So the Hagrites and all their allies were defeated. 1 Chronicles 5:18–20 NLT

*Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.

And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:35-40 NLT

*Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

Moravian Prayer: Giver of strength, help us to remember that we can rely on you always. No trouble is too large or too small for your attention, if we would just ask. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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