Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Different Kind of Exercise for My Heart

I did something tonight that I have not done in a LONG time.  I made dinner for another family.  I even made them dessert!  Most nights I can barely get dinner on the table for my family - I served them half-frozen french fries last week when I made a quick stop at home to prepare dinner between picking Ellie up from her after-school running program and heading off to exercise. 

Today was a bad day.  Work was stressful.  Home was super stressful.  As a result I'm incredibly tired and feel like my legs weigh a hundred pounds each.  After getting home from my daughter's music lessons and making an easy dinner, I realized that I would never make it my Zumba class on time (I'm constantly walking in in the middle of the first song, but I would have been REALLY late tonight!).  The thought of going for a quick run briefly crossed my mind, but the rain made it too easy to not take action on that idea.  Instead I put my pj's on, crawled into bed, pulled the covers up to my nose and closed my eyes.  At 7:15PM I was tucked in bed ready to fall asleep. 

I dozed off for a few minutes and then woke with the memory that I had told my friend that I would bring her dinner tomorrow. 

"I'll just swing through KFC and pick-up a family meal,"  I thought.

"Better yet, I'll just give her the money so that she can swing through KFC and pick-up a family meal," was my next thought.  After all, my purpose in providing dinner was to give her a night off from cooking.  The drive-thru is considered a night off, right?

Then I pictured myself sitting on the curb this afternoon listening and crying with my friend as she shared with me what was going in her life.  I've said in the past that my stress is my stress - what stresses me out may not stress you out which is OK.  But I have to say that just listening to her story increased my stress level. 

Another friend who was sitting with us said, "What has happened to our society.  It used to be that when someone was struggling like this everyone would rally around and help."  After a long pause she continued, "I guess that's church.  This is work."

Her last statement really impacted me.  Should it matter if it's work versus church?  If I was in church I'd be offering to take the family a meal.  Organizing others to do the same.  Collecting helpful items.  I'd be jumping into action.  So why, in this moment, was I just sitting on the curb doing nothing? 

I turned to my friend and told her I would be providing dinner for her family tomorrow night.

Fast forward a few hours to me tucked comfortably in bed at 7:15PM.  Money for KFC would not work.  I was going to make them a meal. 

I dragged myself out of bed and into the kitchen to begin rummaging through the cupboards and freezer.  As I took stock of what I had on hand I began to get excited as different meal ideas came to mind.  Knowing there are young kids in the house, I decided on a Mac-n-Cheese Pizza Casserole.  Once that was prepared, my mind went to dessert.  Of course they would need dessert! 

As I type my kitchen is filled with the sweet scent of Devil's Food Cake Cookies . . . YUM!  I feel energized.  I'm looking forward to sharing these dishes with my friend's family tomorrow.  There is a smile on my face.  The stress from my bad day has disappeared.

So I'm not going to feel guilty about not getting any exercise in today.  While I didn't do any cardio, I definitely exercised my heart.

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