Friday, September 14, 2007
Okay. Since my vain attempts at humor have a tendency to confuse people or make them pity me, I'll tell you this now: the following post is supposed to be funny. Okay?
Yesterday I received some devastating news. Today I am still reeling.
See, for a few weeks I've been weighing myself on Tom's Ebay package scale here in our basement. It's very like a regular bathroom scale, except that you have to read the numbers upside-down. And well, for weeks, that (blessed/holy/merciful) scale told me I was losing weight. Without even trying to lose weight. Well, except for eating organic and being more careful to take my daily walk around these neighborhoods (of which I'm becoming tired since--now--these scrunched-together houses are giving me claustrophobia. But that's not part of this story).
Anyway, I even told all of you I'd lost my winter weight (finally, at the end of summer). I'd told a few other people around my town, too.
So yesterday Tom and I were at this ghost-town like shopping mall nearby and while he shopped for tools at Sears, I spied one of those tall, metal and enamel old-fashioned scales which I'd seen in old movies, usually comedies. Blithely, like an idiot, I popped in my quarter so I could see how much I weighed.
That stupid/horrible/unkind scale told me I weighed ten more pounds than I thought I did. Ten pounds!
Unable to even focus on my so-called lucky number, I backed away, horrified, from the scale and went bawling through the mall till I found Tom at Sears. Okay, so I didn't really bawl. But I'm sure I resembled a woman in the first stages of shock.
Well, I threw myself at Tom, told him the whole sordid tale and how his unreliable/broken-down/pathetic basement scale had lied to me. For weeks. And do you know what he said after I stopped sputtering? He said, "Oh, those kinds of old-fashioned store scales are never right. Don't worry about it. I'm sure my scale is accurate and that you've lost weight after all."
What a sweetie. A misinformed and mistaken sweetie, but a sweetie nonetheless.
Well, I walked out to the car to nurse my wounds and, suddenly, everything made sense. How, earlier, when I'd told our daughter and my friend, Laura, and Tom that I'd lost more than ten pounds, not one of them said, "Really? I'd thought you were looking slimmer." Nope. Not one of them said anything like that. And my slacks weren't feeling especially loose, either, and that had had me a bit mystified.
But you know? Here's the wild thing. I'd been feeling slimmer. I'd strolled around supermarkets with a happy-that-I'm-finally-losing-weight smile, practically skipping out to my car in the parking lot. And the few times I peered into mirrors, holding in my stomach, of course, I even appeared skinnier to my (poor, over-40) eyes.
And that realization made me stop sputtering and whining. It came to me, again, that--mostly-- how we feel about ourselves is all inside our heads. That what matters most is what we tell ourselves, rather than what others tell us. What matters most, too, is that we listen to what God says about us-- and He's certainly not standing over us criticizing, condemning or waiting for us to fail.
Instead, He's standing beside us, within us, always ready to help. To inspire. To instruct. And He's always available to love us through the goofy things we do while we are learning how to live His way, not ours. While we're learning to decipher what really matters--and what does not.