Pass the Kleenex, Please: A 2-Step Health Recovery Program
By Carolyn Allen
As I browsed the Meridian homepage (Thursday, August 20) before writing this article, I needed a box of Kleenex for the tears that flowed. First I read Lucy Mack Smith’s experiences and heartbreaking first-hand observations of the tragic days following the martyrdom of her sons Joseph and Hyrum. Their deaths were followed a month later by the death of her son Samuel from an injury received while returning home from Carthage jail after the murders. How are there even words to describe these devastating events and emotions?
Next I read Larry Barkdull’s article, “Awakening Spiritual Asleep Children,” and Colleen Harrison’s continuing installment on, “The Mighty Change of Heart” for overcoming addiction. These well-documented and insightful articles were far more than clinical or LDS doctrinal advisories because they were clearly written from the heart through life-altering personal experiences with families and loved ones.
Then I returned to the lead article debunking the rumors of the recession being over and advising us to prepare for financial difficulties that surely lie ahead.
I was grateful (ever and always) for Meridian’s promise to be a place where LDS people gather for courage and resources as we unite to experience the last days and what my Patriarchal Blessing terms “the turbulent seas of mortality.”
Is life meant to be this sad and difficult? More importantly: Is a box of Kleenex enough? The world thinks not – nor have I for much of my life. Little Debbie’s Cakes (Their slogan: “The fastest way to unwrap a smile“) and Lay’s Potato Chips “Food for the Fun of It” and “Get your smile on!“) have a ready market for the universal need to feel better fast, yet the consequential truth of an old cartoon, hits painfully close to home for most of us:
We could easily add the front page of a newspaper along with our own journals and family scrapbooks to the picture of the scale as well. “Don’t step on it … it makes you cry,” Oh, yes, yes indeed! No wonder this life has been called “a vale of tears,” (referring to the 23rd Psalm and the valley – or vale – of the shadow of death). Yet where else is there to go? Where else is there to step?
Well, we can lighten up both figuratively and literally with today’s 2-Step Health Recovery Program! Though the 2-Step is also a dance move and the beginning stages of the 12-Step Addiction Recovery Program, this 2-Step is a quickie for the health and energy we need to survive and thrive as the last days and the signs of the times literally unscroll themselves in our daily lives. So quick! Lift your right foot, then your left to help this 2-Step come to life.
Step 1: Do a quick-step to the temple: No need to arrange for a babysitter or leave your home for this Step-1.
At 8:00 a.m. each morning, BYU Broadcasting and I have a date: I huff and puff on my Nordic Track while they replay an old Devotional. The time flies! Recently Merrill J. Bateman (then President of BYU) addressed the new student body of 2002 (that seems like a lifetime ago in world events, doesn’t it?) with his talk “Temples of Learning.” It was given just one day before the first anniversary of 9-11 on September 10, 2002.
“I wish to point out that you as individuals are holy temples of God yourselves and therefore should protect your bodies and souls because they are sacred.
The dictionary defines a temple as “a building or place dedicated to worship or the presence of deity.”
Our bodies have also been called temples, because they are designed to house the Holy Ghost as well as our own spirit. In scripture, Jesus was the first to speak of the body as a temple. After cleansing the Jerusalem temple of the money changers and merchants, the Jews asked Jesus for a sign of His authority. He said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) The Jewish questioners thought he was referring to the building, but we know that He was referring to His body.
Writing to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul described sexual sin as a sin against one’s own body, and then used the temple metaphor to indicate the seriousness of such acts. He said:
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Cor. 19-20)
President Bateman continued: “To some the last sentence may seem strange. If we own anything on this earth, one would expect it to be our body and our spirit. In a sense, that is true. We are our own person. But Paul is pointing out that Christ’s Atonement determines what we become. We still have our agency, but He paid for our future possibilities. In that sense, He owns us! We must submit to Him. We must still give ourselves to Him.
In the garden and on the cross, the Savior’s atonement made possible our sanctification through the power of His blood and the help of the Holy Ghost. If we strive to live the gospel, our bodies become temples in which the Spirit of God resides. The price paid by the Savior insures that our bodies and spirits will overcome death and be raised to a higher state.
Brothers and sisters, treat your bodies with utmost care!” (Merrill J. Bateman, BYU Devotional, September 10, 2002)
Had you ever considered this? That your body is not really your own, but owned by God? Does that change what foods and portions you choose to eat? Does that influence how you will exercise, cleanse and care for it?
With this literally enlightening concept to guide us, we can symbolically step into the temple, the temple of our body, at any time, and remind ourselves who we really are and quietly, prayerfully take Step No. 2, which is even easier:
Step 2: Step Back And Away … from the foods that are not a blessing to the temple of your body. That’s all, just step away as you kindly let others make their own choices.
When it seems as though these simple things may not make enough of a difference, it is important to remember that little things add up! Even as one brownie can lead to another and another, so does one good choice lead to another and another.
When caring for and disciplining our bodies is overwhelming and discouraging, it good to remember Karl G. Maeser’s experience when BYU was just a fledgling university and Brigham Young’s vision of a great university for the Lord and the Church seemed like gargantuan impossibility:
President Bateman continues:
“The 1880s were a very difficult financial period for the university. Brother Maeser became so discouraged with the lack of resources that he decided to take a job at the University of Utah.
He told his wife and daughter to pack the household goods and prepare to move. This they did, and then they waited for two days. On the third day, the daughter finally asked when they would leave.
Brother Maeser replied: “I have changed my mind. I have had a dream – I have seen Temple Hill (the area of the BYU campus now) filled with buildings – great temples of learning, and I have decided to remain and do my part in contributing to the fulfillment of that dream.”
In the exact same way, we can envision our bodies as healthy and strong by using the principles of freedom, faith and our bodies as temples to determine our food and exercise choices. We can comfort ourselves and please our Heavenly Father by turning away from the scale as an arbitrary judge of our success and replace it with the satisfaction of simply feeling better in every way from exercising and making smart food choices for the right reasons.
Get out the Kleenex! We’ll need it for the happy tears of progress as we 2-Step our way into the health, vitality and peace required to manage the challenges of the last days. We were sent for a time such as this to succeed, and we can!
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