Monday, March 15, 2010

I Pledge Allegiance to the Treadmill

Pledge dusting spray is not conducive to fitness. Let me explain. When the kids were small, before they were in school and I completed all my housework with them underfoot, I doled out jobs they could do with me. For instance, if I paid bills, they colored their own “mail” that consisted of the unused envelopes and address labels. When I emptied the dishwasher, they were responsible for the plastic bowls that went in a low drawer. And when I dusted, they always got their own dust rag sprayed with a bit of Pledge. No amount of Pledge ever seemed to satisfy them. I’d spray; they’d dust. Within minutes, there they were, little hands clutching dirt-smudged cloth diapers, asking for “just a little more”.
To keep them occupied a little longer, I would give it a spray and off they would go. But after the seventh swipe over the same shelf or windowsill and several re-fuelings of dusting spray, I would cut them off. At this point their attention would wander somewhere else or they would attempt to steal my can of Pledge.

After one morning of dusting, I thought I had escaped the usual requests for “just a little more”. The kids were in their beds or their rooms for a little quiet time when I hopped on the treadmill for thirty minutes of exercise. The belt jerked and slowly picked up speed as I moved my feet from the side rails to the deck. What normally felt sturdy and solid slipped away and I grabbed for the handholds. Walking on ice-covered sidewalks was not as difficult. It took my only moments to realize what had happened—my diminutive dusters had Pledged my treadmill! It took a scrubbing with mild soap and a good dousing of baby powder to absorb the conditioners that are so good for my wood but so bad for my footing. Needless to say, my arms were the only thing to get a workout that day.

But I learned a lesson that day. A lesson about life and about faith. I learned that just like you don’t throw in the towel on exercising because your treadmill gets slippery, you don’t stop living—or believing—when life gets messy. I needed to focus on what was TRUE in the situation:

*My treadmill had served me well in the past and just because today we had troubles, I knew it would continue to serve me well in the future. I couldn’t let myself believe that this would be the way every exercise session would be forever. It was a passing problem.

*The fault of my missed exercise session didn’t rest with the treadmill—it came from outside factors who didn’t even know their affect on our time together.

*Even though I couldn’t walk that day, I still exercised my body and experienced a time of quiet. The interruption didn’t foil my plans, just changed them for a time.

We live in a world where some days are going to be difficult, other days are going to be bad, and some days just don’t go the way we plan. But we must press on, believing what we know to be true, loving to the best of our ability, doing everything within our power to squeeze every last drop of goodness out of the life we’ve been given. Don’t stop trying; don’t stop believing--just because it gets a little slippery.

Come back on Wednesday when we will talk about Moms & Dads—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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