A reminder of the miracles of weight loss…
For anyone who may not be aware, I underwent weight loss surgery on June 6, 2012. The process for this was a long and arduous one, filled with moments of both humility and humiliation. As I wrote elsewhere, the hardest part of the whole thing was making the decision to do it, because I had to “suck it up and get humble for a minute”. Admitting that I needed help was a difficult thing, but, as most weight loss surgery patients will agree, it really was my last resort. After battling my weight for decades and finally deciding one last time to begin exercising and eating more wisely, I started that process only to lose 9 pounds before getting stuck and then injuring my “good” ankle (the “bad” one having been broken years before and then surgically reassembled). Weight bearing exercise was impossible and I realized I needed a drastic intervention to help me reclaim my health.
Surgery prep happened during the same period I was completing an extended unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at our local teaching hospital. The timing was totally a God thing, and I am convinced that each effort enhanced the other. My unit of CPE placed me in a peer group of strangers who poured unconditional acceptance and support into me throughout both my hospital experience and the concurrent surgery preparation, becoming treasured friends and chosen family by unit’s end.
My hundredth pound came off on January 6, 2013, which in the church calendar is Epiphany. That’s one sure way I’ll always remember the date, because it was an epiphany indeed! It was also my 7-month surg-i-versary. More pounds came off in the months that followed, and I was grateful for every one of them. I still am, even though I have experienced some “bounce-back”, as many weight loss patients do. I am working to get the pounds I want rid of to go away once more. It’ll be a lifelong process, as will blood tests for nutrient levels and tweaking my nutrition. I knew going in that these things would be part of The New Normal.
I decided I wanted to treat myself to a Hundred Pound present, to commemorate my journey and to have a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness along the way. So the search began for my chosen symbol, a small diamond cross pendant. I knew what I wanted, and as a lifelong jewelry horse, I was a pretty savvy shopper. It took a while to find just the right thing…but, like losing that hundredth pound, it was worth waiting for.
The thing is, I’ve never been one to wear a cross. For a long time, I just couldn’t bring myself to wear the symbol of crucifixion. I realized over the years, though, that the cross is a symbol of faith, hope and new life, not just a picture of Christ’s torture and death. What better symbol could I choose to remind me of my own hope and new life than that? And what possible symbol could be a better reminder of God’s constant companionship, comfort and help along the way as I adjusted to The New Normal? What better reminder of second chances and redemption?
Because, for me, the weight loss journey has been very much a spiritual odyssey. There has been a lot of prayer, especially during those early days after surgery, when my recovery took longer and involved a lot more pain than I had anticipated. There have been many long nights of the soul when I cried and leaned into God because I had come to the end of myself. And as I have experienced bounce-back and regained a few of the pounds I had lost, there is renewed prayer that God will help me minute by minute to make wise choices, and that He will comfort the hurting places that I want to feed with unhealthy foods.
I wear my cross often, usually paired with a diamond heart that Sweet Pea gave me for our 15th wedding anniversary. My fingers find their way to my charms throughout the day, touching them and remembering the love, comfort and hope they represent. Thanks be to God for second chances!