Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Who Says You Can’t Find God in Isaac Hayes and the Elliptical Machine

Who says you can’t find God in Isaac Hayes and the elliptical machine? My mom* for one. She religiously attends our church every Sunday morning, and noticing my close to a year absence, she periodically asks me, “Well, are you going to church this morning?”

*By now you must imagine my mom as this conservative nutcase, but trust me she’s absolutely adorable and we laugh about this stuff all the time. I may not be the craziest one in the family, but I’m a serious contender. *

My answer used to be just straight up “no.” Now, it’s “No, I’m going to the gym.” Yes, I haul ass to the gym at 10:30 a.m. every Sunday to partake in Huny’s step class, or to pump away on the elliptical machine. Sure, it’s not the foot-stomping, hand-clapping time I would get at my church. But, I think, it’s just as good for my soul.

Because when I’m climbing to the peak of physical forgiveness, with “Walk On By” building to a release on my MP3 player, something beautiful happens. Drowning in Isaac’s sadness while overcoming my own helps me breathe harder. Listening to the haunting “walk on” his chorus demands over the classic stutter beat gives me some kind of confidence. And as his coolness crashes mid-song, and Black Moses comes down from that mountaintop of his soul commanding only that he be left alone with his teardrops when she said goodbye...I feel for him. And for myself. Because I’ve been there, having to tell a person to get out of my life, the person I want there the most. I know I’m chasing away some kind of enemy…if not the devil himself.

Maybe a couple hamstring curls and some crunches are really good for my soul. Because let’s face it, I haven’t been treating my body as a temple. Yeah, I try to eat well, and I probably eat better than many people I know. But I’m not perfect. And even though I am a human, which gives me the wiggle room to make mistakes. I will still be accountable for my actions, maybe not murder or theft…but drinking too much in college or eating too many servings on mac n’ cheese at Thanksgiving. God forgives, but those jeans in my closet don’t.

And I must repent for this. And we all know repentance is not just saying the words…it’s changing your life to be a better person. So on Sunday mornings, I get together with some women and we try to atone for the abuse we’ve subjected our bodies to because of sloth and greed. Some people are there just for the maintenance. One day, I’ll be there for the maintenance. But on Sundays, I’m there to get myself under control.

Church is not the only place you find God. Sometimes, people expect God when they get there and are surprised when He’s not. To each is own, and wherever you find happiness is where you should be. But I get a little salvation on Sunday mornings, dressed in my Sunday best of red Cincinnati Bearcats sweat pants and an T-shirt. Sometimes it’s Isaac Hayes’ deep sadness and interpretation of words that moves me to be a better person. Sometimes it’s Huny’s annoyingly slim waistline. And sometimes it’s the lady who says “girl, you are looking good!” after I pigged out on Cuban food the week before. But on Sundays, I feel the breakthrough, I feel the salvation and I feel blessed after leaving the gym.


At 9:25 AM, Blogger Miz JJ said...

Nice post. You are truly inspiring me to hit the gym again.

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous belladawn said...

yeah everybody our mom is definitely not a conservative nutcase,;-) though she is a lil ol' school. i am so proud of ur dedication 2 working out, & im glad that ur getting something more spiritual out of it.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's is definitely something about working out. pushing your body to new limits and gaining that feeling of empowerment, of I can do that!

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