Weighing and Wrestling

It’s official.  I’m a lifetime member at Weight Watchers…again.  Again because I decided to join this winter from a fresh place.  Last time, 8 years ago last time, I had a different name.  A different life.  A different approach.  This time the processes has been much slower.  Much less dramatic.  Much more focused on making a true lifestyle change and not simply relishing shopping in a different section of a department store.  Skinny became like a drug to me 8 years ago and what I used to swallow with food I ended up running from with exercise.  Turns out thicker or thinner, I am still me and the challenges the I needed to wrestle with were there regardless of my weight.

This time I’m not going for thin.  I’m going for healthy.  This time I am working to call myself on when I’m swallowing or running from something I need to face.  This time I’m truly hoping it is a lifestyle change.  Judging from the last month I’d say that’s true.  As you may recall, I spent a month away from the gym and the scale.  Spent much of that time not having control over the food around me and also needing to navigate some tough stuff.  All said and done, I gained two pounds.  Not too bad.  Not too bad.

But what is really striking me today is how this whole journey seems to be marinating in my sermon crock pot.  As I ponder and pray over the story of Jacob wrestling with ish–a man?  God?  An angel?  (Angel–that’s the Midrash interpretation.)  At any event, somehow this has all been stewing in the same pot of my mind.  And I don’t like it.  Not one bit.  You see Jacob isn’t such a great guy.  He manipulates his brother into giving him his birthright, steals a blessing from his Father, and tricks Uncle Laban just about every step of the way.  He is one ambitious guy who may not step into the realm of murder and armed robbery but he sure isn’t  my ideal of ethical.  And yet, when I’m honest, I think I’m just a wee-bit like good ole Jacob.  I’ve spent time pretending to be somebody else.  Lord knows I did my share of manipulating, conniving, and competing with my sisters when we were young.  And, well, I’ve played innocent, dumb, or naive to gain an advantage.  And ambitious…yes I can claim that one too.

Sometimes I don’t like that I can relate to Jacob.  But as I sit with him this week, I think maybe it’s only as a recognize the Jacob within myself that I can actually begin to make different choices.  Maybe that’s the real blessing.  The blessing of being who I am.  Who we all are.  The blessing of admitting our own humanity .  The blessing of recognizing where and when we’ve hurt others and the ability to make amends.  I mean, let’s face it, Jacob wrestles with the Ish, receives another blessing and a new name, reconciles with his brother, and then lies to his brother again.  He may have changed a little.  He may be walking differently.  But he is who he is.  And I am who I am.  Making progress….not perfection.

Quotations for the Week:

24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him (Genesis 32:24-25)

Now I become myself. It’s taken  / Time, many years and places; / I have been dissolved and shaken, / Worn other people’s faces ~May Sarton