The Stone and the Cross–A New Life Story

This post originally appeared on Faith, Fiction, and Flannery  in 2011.

“It seems as if all my bridges have been burned,
You say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive at the restart”

Mumford & Sons “Roll Away Your Stone” 

 
It’s Easter, and the evening is winding to a close. I sit up here in my room listening to the rain pelt against the window. My father watches the late news downstairs. He’s eighty now, and while I know it’s wrong, my patience with him often wears thin. His patience with others is even thinner. Perhaps it’s my way of denying his advancing age and increasing need. My sister Micki once said she believed people got more crotchety as they aged as a way of making their death easier on the surviving family members. That’s a pretty good way to look at mercy, I think.

It’s Easter, and I sit up here, writing, wondering if I have any readers left. Only God in His mercy would see to it that I do, because I certainly haven’t done a thing to retain any. It’s been months since my last blog post, and to the two readers I had, if you are still reading, then all I can say is this: I am sorry.

Roll away the stone

You see, I’ve been getting my life in order. The truth of the matter is that I am an addict in recovery. My “substance of choice” is food, but it really could have been anything: alcohol, coke, sex, crack.  The trouble is, I’ve been too chicken to do most of those things. So, food seemed safe. 

UPDATE 2015: I know now that it wasn’t a choice. Those other options held no sway over me.

Harmless, even. But that “harmlessness” set off cravings in me like any alcoholic or drug addict. As a direct result of my addiction, I ballooned to over 240 pounds. I wore my addiction. It was evident to everyone except me. In fact, it was easy to avoid it. If you don’t look below your neck in a mirror, you don’t see the effects of years of compulsive eating and isolation. Now, I go to 3 or 4 meetings a week. And since I’ve put down my substance, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight. Go figure.

I am an addict who has been to hell and back. On July 17, 2010, I got my sobriety back when I put down the food. On August 26th, 2010, I got my serenity back when I walked into a church basement for the first time in over ten years and uttered the words, “My name is Kim and I am a compulsive overeater.”

Photo credit:The jof

I still have to eat to live, but I no longer eat compulsively. I have a food plan and every morning at 7:30 I tell another woman what I am eating for that day. It’s terribly humbling to start the day admitting my brokenness to another human being. Humility and I aren’t natural friends, which is why this daily phone call is so important. But even before I make my phone call, I have two women who call me to make their own humbling admissions. The first call comes in at 6:30 AM.

My addiction doesn’t define me in my totality, this I have come to realize. It doesn’t define me, but it sure as heck wanted to reduce my existence to little more than a slave to it. And I was a willing participant in my own demise.

Addiction is the work of a force that offers me no hope. I need hope. I’m a goner without it. I want more than whatever it is I thought food could offer. Food became the stumbling block, the stone, between me and the only Person who could offer me such beauty; who could roll away the stone of my addiction. That Person, that “Higher Power” for me is Christ.

Christ is risen! He is truly risen! For the next fifty days, Christians around the world will proclaim this in the liturgy. But in order for us to know the Resurrection, we must also bear our cross. For me, and millions like me, addiction is our cross, bearable only because of the presence of Another. We start life again–refreshed and renewed.

Happy Easter.

One White Tee

Minimalism first appeared in my life by accident. It was 2012 and my income was minuscule. I was working part-time at a parish outreach and part-time caring for two children. I had just lost over 100 lbs and could not afford a new wardrobe. Only a few pieces fit.

Most of the clothes in my closet were ten sizes too big. Why did I still have them?

Fear.

Fear of what my closet would look like without them. Fear of lack. Fear of never being able to buy clothes again. Fear of economic insecurity.

With a deep breath, I began the task of ditching the clothes that no longer fit.

The task completed, my closet nearly bare.

I was absolutely frightened, for about five minutes.

This was my reality–I had few things and even less money. But I was free from the shackles of addiction, and free from the delusion of a packed closet.  Today, I can still fit my entire wardrobe, including my winter coat, in the closet. I can afford to buy clothes as I want them, but I don’t want.


Easter is coming.

I needed a new white tee shirt for the outfit I’m wearing to Mass. A white tee is essential to my wardrobe because of it’s versatility. I can wear it to work or out to dinner.

I had one in my closet, but I hadn’t worn it months. I no longer loved it; yet it hung in my closet. Since I wasn’t wearing it, it became useless.

After some thought, I decided to purchase a new one and donate the old one. The old shirt served me well. It was part of the first Easter outfit I bought at my new size. Three years later I still wear the skirt and sweater. They fit fine and I still love them.

Keeping the old tee does not honor the shirt, nor the person who labored to make it. Donating it gives it new life and gives a poor person the dignity of buying something they need.

Minimalism gives us and others respect.

Opening Salvo–Palm Sunday

Essentialism.

That’s what this blog is about. Getting rid of the hubris.  Cutting excess stuff–things, attitudes, words. Moving that stuff out of the way to get to the nitty-gritty, the meaning of a thing.

It requires discipline. In thought and in action.

Who am I?

You may know me from my now defunct blog Faith, Fiction, and Flannery. You may never have heard of me at all. No matter.

College-educated, today I clean toilets and wipe the bottoms of someone else’s children.

I have never been happier.

Great tragedies occur, and still, cleaning needs to be done and children need to be tended to. This is the nitty-gritty, the essential.

Leo Babauta said it best:

  1. Identify the essential
  2. Eliminate the rest

This is a new way of being for me. Join in and we can trudge this road of happy destiny together.