Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Glorious Struggle

In the way of self-deprecation, I have told Devan many times that I am one of the laziest people you'll ever meet. Though I'm not above false modesty, this doesn't qualify as such.
It is a frank appraisal of my own wants and desires and discipline.
Inherent in the remark is the unspoken caveat: But I try to work hard enough so that no one knows it.
In other words, I recognize the necessity of hard work, and will strive to achieve it, I just find it very distasteful.
So, when I hear various and sundry health buffs and nuts wax eloquent about the "invigoration" and "rush" of exercise and cardio and pumping iron, I get a tired sneer on my face.
Self-convincing mind control.
See, I think it's paradoxical to claim you enjoy struggling to supplement your health. Or, I don't know, maybe you don't find it paradoxical, maybe you're just masochistically twisted.
If the principle of "no pain, no gain" is paramount in exercise, then aren't you as much as admitting you get a rush out of pain.
Weird.
This is what I find perennially disquieting about exercise; the ever-extending line that must be crossed in order to benefit.
I'm something of a legalist, and no less one when it comes to this. I would prefer to get mine out of the way all at once.
If I could exercise 24/7, more or less, for a year, and have it out of the way for the duration of my natural life, I would somewhat cheerfully, at least resignedly, commit, and peddle, run and pump my way through October of 2009 just for good measure.
Unfortunately for my laziness, all I'd get out of that is job loss, a heart attack or two, and possible marital complications.
So, it seems we've all been sentenced to share the fate of Sisyphus, the size of the boulder being relative.
(And here is the part where I draw a spiritual parallel. But it really isn't necessary, is it?)
Sufficient grace, and meal in the barrel, and all that, but isn't that missing the point, at least slightly?
As much as it seems applicable at times, God isn't given to the carrot-and-stick approach. And He doesn't require a certain amount of punishment or misery to recompense a reward.
Mostly, it is just the pendulum effect. Not in the sense of Poe, so much, though maybe a little. But rather in what Screwtape referred to as the law of peaks and troughs, reminding his hapless nephew that humans are insufferably mortal, and must undergo this perpetual cycle of ups and downs.
What I find show-stopping about this obvious statement is the implication.
God created us as such!
So where's the glory in redeeming an angel, the grace of walking in our shoes if it were no problem for us?
Strength, His, not ours, perfected in weakness, is the mysterious and majestic remedy.
Cyclical?
No, progressive.

3 comments:

Me said...

As far as you being "lazy"--nothing could be further from the truth. You just aren't a workaholic, who loves your job more than your family...And I love that you put your family first!
Now--if we could just find some way to turn you into a nationally syndicated writer...No! Wait! That's no good. You might end up "loving" your job! ;o)
Love, Me

guess said...

I like your blog,but I would suggest something that has helped me.Instead of a tired sneer,try a tired smile.They say it takes more muscles to frown.

Nathan Carpenter said...

guess WHO?

consider though, that the tired sneer would require more energy, thus be better exercise.