I was grieving a loss. What to do? I would try to get to my soul through my body. My wife once gave me that wisdom. But In my grief I thought it was my idea.
I dropped some bucks on a personal trainer. The online intake form asked what my fitness goals were. I made up something other than grief. “Just the basics to help me develop a good habit,” I wrote. The interweb hooked me up with the first available trainer and off we went into the land of panting and soreness. That was a little more than two months ago.
In the intervening time I came across a YouTube video asking the question, “What happens to calories when you burn them?” As the chemistry would have it, our calories are broken down largely into water and carbon dioxide, or as I knew it better, exhaled breath. That would become a good piece of motivation when I was huffing and puffing in the gym. “I’m exhaling weight I don’t need.”
Close to the end of my paid for training sessions, I was talking about my grief and my exercise project with a pastoral counselor. She confirmed my wife’s earlier wisdom. “People move through grief,” she said, meaning it quite literally. By the time I got to my last training session today, feeling better on many levels, these two ideas had undergone a reaction to become a better one. My grief was being exhaled. The carbon of both fat and scorched plans for the future was coming out of my body as water vapor and carbon dioxide. From my release they can then go on to be taken in by a tree, a blade of summer grass, or a May strawberry. As an added benefit, I have the strength to receive something new from God.
2 Thessalonians 2:16–17 (NRSV): Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.
O Lord, thank you for your eternal strength and comfort. Thank you for for the interrelated ways in which you have made your creation. Grant that I may see and seek the daily transformations all around me and draw upon them in times of need. Amen.
Son, Brother, United Methodist Pastor, Husband, Dad