Brandon recently stood at my small kitchen table and told me that the cashier in the grocery store who normally rings us up asked him why he was so quiet. He then went on to tell me that she said, “Your wife never shuts up, but you’re so quiet.” She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I have plenty of quiet moments – moments that are interrupted by someone else’s yammering when I’m trying to relax in the gym after a hard workout, before I turn around to see a young or an old or a middle-aged woman’s nipples at eye-level while she discusses how hard it is to manage the people underneath her; lovely little quiet moments when I’m trying to read the book of Matthew on the train and the nurses – between the hours of 7:00 and 8:00pm is when all of the nurses who live in Brooklyn travel home I’ve discovered – won’t stop describing the day’s traumas. I want so badly to tell her that there are many, many minutes of the day when I’m not talking, but I refuse to visit her check-out lane.
And the fact is, we’re not even married yet. We’re close to it – but there’s no rush, as we’ve yet to hit our individual body goals. Brandon’s approach to gaining weight and adding muscle is two solid hours of weight-lifting in the gym. Me? Well I swallow fat burners to lose pounds, along with exercise of course. They’re horrible things, these fat burners. Clear capsules that look like they have liquid soap inside. Oh, and they give me a minor headache too. But I suppose it’s worth it.
A small headache I can tolerate, but the feeling of fatigue I cannot. And Lord, was I feeling rundown until recently. To be completely transparent, I was tolerating too many things that I don’t have to put up with at the start of this year, and I finally said enough. Work had become an obsession, it went home with me, and it consumed those precious first moments when you wake up, but haven’t left the bed yet. I’d lay there typing on my blackberry, letting my shoulders tense, and then start defending myself against an imagined accusation. “Why are you late?” the faux boss would ask me, and I’d go off on a rant about how hard I work. It sounds nuts, but it’s true. No one, and I mean no one, has ever uttered the words “Why are you late?” in this place, or half of the other things I was imagining. I was unhappy, stressed out, and unsatisfied with the amount of time I spent in my Bible. So two weeks ago, I changed all of that. Probably the same day I bought the fat burners.
For five days in a row I left work on time, went to the gym, showered there, and went home clean to crawl into bed and just read the Word. I prayed, I sang simple hymns while I drifted to sleep, I listened to three sermons a day from various Pastors I respect and trust, but mostly I just read. Joseph’s trials, Abraham’s faith, Jesus’ walk – the real one, not the one Kanye made famous – were all I focused on, and it healed me. It healed me! It filled me with strength and hope, and made my excitement for life rise to the top. My excitement is buoyant again – my hope floats. I am overcome once again with joy and gratitude and energy, and I give all glory to God for that.
Naturally, I went back to what I’m good at: spreading the gospel in the only way I know how, which is by being a good example of it. I came into work this morning with a love that isn’t limited to the (ridiculous) man-made holiday that people insist on having, but a love that really wants to know how you’re doing when it asks you. And the more I do it, the more excited I grow over the idea of doing that full-time.
“So,” I said, “what’d you do for your wife? It’s Valentine’s Day.”
“We got into a fight,” my co-worker answered me, laughing through the orange he brought for breakfast.
He went on to explain that fights are on the horizon for me too once I tie the knot. I told him they most certainly were not, and that he should be nicer to his wife because she’s probably tired.
“You could have a butt-naked wife standing at the stove cooking you eggs if you knew how to act right,” I declared.
“Yeah, but I don’t like eggs,” was his reply.
It was this same co-worker who told me I was crazy for taking for the fat burners – even though Brandon supports my choice -, and even crazier for considering getting a vial of Deer Antler Velvet as a present for him. For those of you who don’t know, Deer Antler Velvet is…deer antler velvet. Or crushed deer antlers if you will. Supposedly, when you crush deer antlers and ingest them, you get quick results from working out. It beefs up men the same way a steroid does, and isn’t recommended for women. “Crazy,” was all he said, turning his back to me to continue reading something un-work related.
“If my future husband wants a skinny woman with a big butt, and I want to marry a big man with muscles—“ I started.
“—then you should marry other people,” he finished.
It is times like this that I want to be mad, but I am laughing so hard I know people inside of glass offices having important meetings can hear me.
But my joy is back. And I don’t care.