Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jesus, Jillian and the Easy button

This past week, my acupuncturist asked me where I had put my negative feelings about my mother and our history. The truthful answer is that I've simply had to put them away, far, far away, as I walk with her to her final destination. There really is no room for those feelings, justified though they may be, to coexist with the feelings of impending loss and my (somewhat desperate) need to love this woman unto death. Easy? Not hardly.

Last Sunday at church I had cause, during the sermon, to think that there really is no 'Easy' button when it comes to exercising one's faith, whatever faith that may be. The choices are always difficult. Perhaps, as we get older, and better at walking the talk, we make those choices more quickly, but they're still hard choices. Should I copy my neighbor's answer on the test or get it wrong? Pay someone to take the SAT for me or take my chances on what's in my own head? Take a few pennies from my employer or muddle on impecunious? Embezzle millions (à la Bernie Madoff) or invest clients' money as I've been contracted to do? Love my broken mother or hold on to my anger? The challenges start almost as soon as we get out of the womb, and it doesn't appear that they stop before we return to the dust. So it is. Easy? Ha!

As I was working out the other morning, doing my favorite Jillian Michaels' DVD (and grunting), I realized that there isn't an easy button for working out either. Somewhere on that DVD, Jillian reminds me/us to think about why we're doing this thing at all. "This is where," she says, "you're starting to get tired. Remind yourself why you bought this DVD in the first place." Every time we get to this point, I ask myself "Why did you buy this DVD?" I still do  not have a good answer, but I muddle on all the same.

I'm a huge fan of Jillian Michaels' and her workouts. Yes, she can be a little shrill, or is it snarky? Whatever it is, most of the time, I'm usually far too busy sweating and grunting to notice her tone. I do the workouts, I enjoy the physical discomfort they bring and ultimately, I enjoy the changes in my body. The workouts are not easy but then if you want the results she promises, 'easy' is not likely to be the path to get to them.

easy button photo: easy button ab6.jpgI'm equally a fan of Jesus and the behavior he modeled. As with Jillian, if I'm looking to get the best results, I've got to be diligent about my 'practice'. The behaviors I choose in every instance have to be consistent with what I say I believe. None of this is without significant challenge. Take for example, the recent death of Fred Phelps - the founder of the Westboro Baptist church. As a person trying to reflect Jesus in my daily life, that means that I have to take the high road, even when the low one looks so much better. Easier. I have to pray for the comfort of his family and the peaceful repose of his soul. That's the Jesus way. It certainly ain't the easy way.

As regards my mother, well, the same non-easy route is required. In answer to the question of what I'm doing about my negative feelings in the present context, the answer remains "Nothing". I've tucked those feelings away, far, far away because that's what the circumstance requires. Is this healthy? I've no idea. Is this the right thing to do? For me yes, for you maybe not. Mayhap, by the time we get to the end of the road, the anger will have melted away and something new will exist. That's my prayer. If that's not what happens, well, me & Jesus will have to deal with it then.

If there's an easy button out there, I sure wish someone would direct me to it. Thus far, I haven't found it in my Jesus walk, my Jillian walk or my Alzheimer's walk. Maybe it's out there in some place where I ain't walking.

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