Jeanie and I took the boys on a road trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame back in 2009, and on the way back, we stopped in Gettysburg. I've always been a baseball fan and a Civil War buff, so it was the ultimate vacation for me and the boys. I had a blast.
|At Babe Ruth's locker in the Baseball Hall of Fame ... and Adam's in front.|
The problem is, I can barely stand to look at photographs from the trip. In almost every single one in which Adam, Jesse and I appear, I've very carefully placed one or the both of them in front of me in an attempt to cover up my belly. I look at the pictures, and then I look away because they break my heart.
More than a year would pass before I seriously started trying to lose weight. Deep down inside, I knew I had to do something but couldn't conceive of how to actually begin. It wasn't that it was going to be difficult. It was something far worse than that. It was going to be very nearly impossible. I'd tried too many times before, only to fall flat on my flabby face.
There was the time I stormed out of the Y because a group of uber-jocks refused to include me in what was evidently a private game of Wallyball. I didn't go back for nearly three years, regained the few pounds I'd lost and then some. And then some more. I really showed them.
|With a display honoring the Big Red Machine Cincinnati Reds ... and Jesse's in front.|
What would people think if they knew that I don't actually get a kick out of working out or running? I enjoy the sense of accomplishment, but only when it's over. I don't like pain. I'm allergic to it. Rolling out of bed in the mornings, especially on Saturdays, and going for a run is hard. It's especially difficult when it's cold ... or hot ... or when I plan on running a longer distance ... or when I'm still sore from my last run or boot camp workout.
|On Little Round Top at Gettysburg with the 20th Maine monument ... and both are in front.|
It just seems like all this should be getting easier ... not easy ... just ... easier.
I'm not giving up, though. I've come too far to let a little thing like discouragement turn me back into the man I used to be. That. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. It's one of the reasons I've come to love the music of contemporary Christian music artist Mandisa so much. When she was on American Idol, Simon Cowell made some incredibly insensitive remarks about her size and weight.
Mandisa knows, and she's recorded several songs just for the two of us. "Overcomer" is one. It comes on when I'm running, and I fix in my mind how far down the road I'm going to be when the song finishes. A lot of times, I make it. Sometimes, I don't. But I try, and I try hard.
As close to home as "Overcomer" hits, it's another song that has come to be my anthem in this journey. "Say Goodbye" is everything I wish I could say in song.
These photos were taken years ago. That's not me any more. Don't give up. Keep going.
Say goodbye/Say goodbye/To the one that used to be/Say goodbye/Say goodbye/Every day is a brand-new mercy ...
My legs are hurting and I've got a couple more miles to go, but I'm not going to stop. I've got to keep going.
This is where it starts now/Everything can turn around/In a moment, here's your moment/You can say goodbye ...
As bad as it hurts to run and work out, I'm so desperately thankful that I'm not in the place I used to be. Keep going.
There is grace that you can't imagine/There is love that you can't outrun/There is peace you can hold onto/When your world is coming undone ...
You don't have to give into the fear/Don't have to let your story stop here/When the hand tries to pull you back/You don't have to go back/You don't have to go back ...
To everything that breaks you down/It doesn't have to define you now/Jesus can take it all away/Say goodbye/Say goodbye/You're not the one you used to be ...
Amen. Thank you, Mandisa. You'll never know how much I appreciate you.