Dominic was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder called Genitopatellar Syndrome. The life expectancy for kids born with this syndrome is usually only weeks. The reality that he could leave us at any moment has been looming over my wife and I for the past 5 years, causing great stress and anxiety.
We’ve been slowly realizing recently that our constant state of readiness to respond to a life threatening emergency has taken its toll on us, our family, and our marriage. Our eyes were opened to realize we’ve forgotten the joy of life by waiting on death.
While there have been numerous occasions in which we have had to rapidly come to Dominic’s aid to perform life-saving measures over his short lifetime, these instances haven’t been what has weighed us down for so long. After all, the training we’ve each received for our individual jobs have afforded us calm, steady hands and a keen sense of situational awareness that has kept him alive numerous times.
It’s not the storm that weighs heavy on our hearts, but the calm before the storm that is suffocating. It’s the time of waiting for the next emergency to spring up in which we’ve discovered the joy has been robbed from us. We’ve been sadly wasting time worrying about death instead of looking for opportunities to live.
I bring this experience to light because in many other ways, in all of our lives, we waste time worrying about things that are out of our control and rather dwell in a place that is full of fear and anxiety thus missing opportunities to really live. We all can become cut off from the sweet breath of life with the distractions we are so fond of, which do nothing more than rob us of God’s quiet, still voice.
Most of us would agree that our proper priorities as Catholic men should be God, Family, Work… in that order. I would suggest a subset of these priorities include Spiritual wellness, which fits under our primary responsibility towards God, and Bodily wellness which is a sub-category under our commitment to our family. Both are imperative to have healthy lives and are to be properly ordered so that we can express the full potential that God designed specifically for you and me.
When these priorities become disordered, or we allow other distractions to take precedence, we can easily become disillusioned and can flip these priorities so they are 1. Work/Play, 2. Family 3. God. We thus fail to make progress in the important realm of spiritual and bodily wellness.
In order to focus on one aspect of our wellness, here are a few steps we can take to overcome these obstacles and begin an intentional step towards bodily wellness which your family needs from you.
Begin with the End in Mind
Just like other goal oriented lessons which you have probably come across, it is effective to reverse engineer your problem and begin with the end in mind. Imagine what the fit version of yourself looks like. What size pants do you wear, how much do you bench press or deadlift? What kind of diet do you fuel your body with? Utilizing this vision, or where you want to end up, will help you deconstruct that guy and build him up through an incremental and intentional wellness plan.
Quit making Excuses… Serve!
Apathy, anxiety and excuses have become the norm for many of us trudging through this life. One way to overcome this obstacle and begin to improve our bodily strength, coordination and conditioning is by offering these small sufferings for another. It usually takes suffering and pouring ourselves out for another to break out from selfish inclinations that suffocate our good intentions to get back into shape.
I suggest that when we decide to do a work out, even if it is as simple as 10 squats, 10 push-ups and 10 crunches, offering it for someone who is sick, poor or a person close to us like our wives, can have a profound impact on our motivation to not only start the workout but finish it strong.
Find a Battle Buddy
As I explain in my article titled “Battle Buddy” reaching goals like increasing our fitness capacity or eating clean is made more attainable if you embark on the journey with a friend. Try and find another guy to begin your fitness journey with.
You don’t necessarily have to meet up to work out together, although this really provides a great deal of motivation, merely texting each other what workout you did and if you completed one goes a long way in keeping the momentum up to meet your personal wellness goals.
Although getting in better shape sounds like a good idea and can become almost a romantic ideal, much like Christ’s command to pick up your cross and follow him may sound almost poetic, it is not easy in practice. It takes great effort and primarily a decision to begin. I encourage you to use these steps so that you can begin to find opportunities to live rather than wait to die.