My friend Mike Thomson mentioned me, though not by name, in one of his articles recently. He got me to thinking. I like it when someone gets me thinking.
I did start walking 10,000 steps a day back in August of 2003. Now I walk an average of 15,000 steps a day. The results have indeed been fantastic. In fact, I would now call it one of my favorite hobbies. But I can't take credit for the results.
It really wasn't very long ago that I would come home to my little apartment in a somewhat questionable part of town to a very stressed and failing relationship after having spent another very long and stressful day trying to help people who were understandably panicked about their retirement accounts considering we were in the most dramatic market slump since the Great Depression. I would then plop myself down in front of the television with something like salami and cheese for dinner followed by ice cream for dessert. A little later I'd need a snack – some chips maybe or maybe a little more salami and cheese. Then why not have a little piece of cheesecake or two. I deserved it. Right?
I was more than just consoling myself with food. I was immersing myself in it. And it in me. I ballooned up to 252 pounds. (I'm only five feet tall.) I hurt all over all the time. My knees were a mess and the muscle spasms in my back and obliques were enough to bring me to my knees on more than one occasion. My blood pressure hit 199/130. That's stage 2 hypertension. That's scary.
Still, I did nothing.
I had finished college the year before getting my degree in education, working my way through school as a retirement account consultant. That's like having stress cake with stress icing. I continued in that job even though I hated it because if I started teaching I might…Gasp!…fail. And what then? It actually never occurred to me then that the life I was living was failing – utterly and completely. (Later I took a stress audit. A score of 65 was considered highly stressed. Lifestyle changes were called for. I scored 364.)
I had been away from church for a long time. I had been away from God for a long time. I wanted that back. Believe it or not, I couldn't figure out how to get it back. My boyfriend was adamantly against anything that resembled religion. I kept trying to make myself go to church, any church on a Sunday morning. Each week I found one excuse or another. The truth was that I was too depressed to move at all when I didn't absolutely have too.
In May of 2003 I accepted a summer job teaching in juvenile detention even though I had always thought that I would find large groups of teenagers intimidating. It was only for nine weeks and I thought I could handle both jobs for nine weeks. One June 9th I was on my way to my first day of work and my life changed.
I didn't see the little blue Escort running the red light until it was too late to get out of his way. He hit my little Ranger right behind the passenger side rear wheel. As the truck started to spin the only thought I had was "Oh!" When the wheels left the ground I literally threw my life at God. The truck landed on the driver's side and continued to spin and slide. When it stopped I was still holding the wheel. Glass was everywhere. Much of it was ground into my considerably numb left arm. My glasses were no longer on my face. The windshield was still there but the crackling had brought an end to anything resembling transparency. I couldn't really feel most of my body but I could still move all of it. But I couldn't get out of the truck.
The firemen and paramedics were wonderful. In the back of the ambulance a paramedic put my unbroken, undented, unscratched glasses back on my face. A fireman had retrieved them from the middle of the intersection. (I think today was the first time I thought to thank God for that.)
The hospital was a nightmare. I overheard a nurse making fun of me telling someone, "now she claims her back is hurting her." The feeling was starting to come back. And it didn't feel good.
They rinsed my arm off with iodine but they didn't remove any of the glass or asphalt that was in it. And there was plenty. I had the pleasure of doing that myself many hours later.
It seemed like there were a million questions coming at me. I must have repeated my social security number a dozen times. Then the cop came in.
Has anyone ever accused you of being too honest? My mother always said it was one of my downfalls. The policewoman asked a simple question. "What color was the light when you entered the intersection?" I was not at my best. I snapped, "I assume it was green! I went through it!" She wrote down that I did not know what color the light was. Then finally, I was alone.
This is the part of the story that many may find hard to believe, especially those who question or plainly don't believe in God.
He was there. I didn't see a face, a bright light, or anything like that. Everything in the room seemed to fade and my focus was entirely on His presence. He was handing my life back to me. I hadn't realized that when I threw it, He caught it. I responded out loud, "No, you keep it. I don't seem to know what I'm doing with it." He left and the room came back into focus.
A few days later I started my teaching job in bandages and a sling. I loved it. I still love it. Over the next few weeks I ended the horribly stressful relationship. I quit the horrible stressful job. I got back in touch with one of my best friends. (He has been an incredibly positive force in my life.) And the weight started falling off. When I could move freely again I joined SparkCincinnati (www.sparkcincinnati.com) and started the 10,000 steps a day program. Later I also joined Curves (www.curves.com).
By the end of September I was making an offer on my first house. In November I moved in. Then I found my church. It wasn't just a church. It was my church. And I knew it when I walked in.
My life is awesome. My cup truly runneth over. I have a job I love, awesome friends and family, a comfortable home, a church where I love to serve, my blood pressure is now consistently 121/74, my resting heart rate is now 65, and most importantly – God is the center of my life.
I winced at first while recalling what my life was like 67 pounds ago. But as I said, I can't take credit for the results. God is responsible for everything good in my life. I still wouldn't know what to do with it without Him.