I came home from the gym this evening. My arms are dead. I’ve been following Langan’s masterful plan. This is the first full week, thanks to bronchitis and other general malaise, that I have followed through. I’m glad I took my time getting to this point, though, because the fits and starts just provided a way to ease myself into this hellish torture. More than once at the gym tonight, while on the floor doing my 200+ push-ups or the ten sets of pull-ups, I found myself muttering “Why, God, why?” This greatly amused my new gym friend, Jule, an older black woman who comes to ride the bike and lift “light weights”. If they were any lighter I could probably inhale them with a drinking straw. She and I have taken to playfully staring each other down for use of “the good bike” — the one out of three that sits higher and doesn’t feel like it’s about to break the hips of the rider. We actually made an agreement to claim her (the bike’s a chick) on alternating nights. She (Jule, not the bike) reads her fiction novel while I watch Fox News and the History Channel. It’s a working relationship.
The cool thing is that I actually do feel myself getting stronger. I can’t say I’ve seen too much in the line of physical results yet. Hopefully that will come soon — you know, the waist generally losing dimension with the chest and arms generally gaining. But I leave the gym feeling good. I feel good about myself for accomplishing something and I feel physically good, free of pain. The stretching and pulling and pushing seems to be ideal for my spine. The strengthening is definitely good for my spine. And best of all, I’ve been keeping a log of my sets and I can see that I must be making strides. On my first try a few weeks ago I managed to squeeze out 199 push-ups and 19 pull-ups. At the start of this week I did 215 and 37 respectively. Tonight I was at 230 and 37 and I kind of cheated. Did I mention that my arms were dead? Yeah, I hadn’t eaten much today. That’s a no-no. I could not bring myself to do the last two sets. If I had, my numbers would have been huge. Then again, my arms might have become huge as well. Oh well, I prayed for God’s help and the grace of perseverance.
When I arrived at home my wife and kids were finishing up movie night. Tonight we were fanciful and found The Wiz on Netflix. I like the music, my daughter likes the dancing, my son is fascinated with the weirdness of it all, and my wife liked that my kids were happy and not hurting each other. I came in just the four principle characters had arrived at Emerald City. I had forgotten that these scenes were filmed in New York using the World Trade Center as a stand-in for the wizard’s abode. I got a little sentimental. “Son, those buildings were in New York and Daddy used to go there all the time. They were the tallest buildings in the city.” He looked up at me. “Can you take me there the next time we go to New York Jersey?” He still hasn’t figured out that they’re actually two states and I don’t have the heart to tell him. And I surely don’t have the heart to tell him I already have taken him there when we visited the Memorial this summer. He would ask where the buildings were and I don’t want to tell him — not because he couldn’t handle it; but because I still can’t. So I said a little prayer to myself. “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord…”
Finally it came time to put the kittens down for bed. We’ve taken to praying the rosary with them as they drift off. The gain exposure to spending some meaningful time in prayer, learn our faith, and the rhythm of the repetitive Hail Mary’s knock them out cold. It knocks them out, that is, unless the little boy lying next to you, nodding off into snooze-land, is observant and curious and questions everything that does not make the least bit of sense to him. I started in with the Fatima Prayer, the one that separates the decades.
O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven especially –
Here I was interrupted by my darling boy. “Um, Daddy? You know our house won’t be on fire, right?”
-Especially those in most –
-Most in need of thy merc-
“Daddy, our house can’t be on fire because it’s made of brick.”
And so while saying my prayers (really saying my kids’ prayers for them) I stopped and said a little prayer for my self.
“Thank you, Jesus, for such beautiful children and such an amazing life!”
No say your prayers and go to sleep!