Revelation at Vicksburg: I’m not who I was.

Weight loss is an interesting animal.  It’s easy to say that distant friends notice, followed by close friends, followed by family, and then yourself…but noticing, and understanding are two different things. Cognitive dissonance, the concept that it gets in your head before it gets in your heart is a multi-faceted thing. I am fully aware that the clothes I wear are smaller.  I can see pictures, and in the obvious…I can see the changes that are coming.  I can see it in the way I eat, and order food. But there is a shell that seems, while not impenetrable, very difficult to cast to the side. We’ll call it, IT, and remember Beverly Marsh’s words from the Stephen King made-for-TV 90s miniseries, IT: “Why is IT so mean?”

IT shows up at the most inopportune times.

  • In the middle of a workout, IT whispers to you that, you aren’t capable.
  • When meeting someone new, IT tells you they’re judging you.
  • When passing by a hiking trail in the mountains, IT speaks, That’s not for you.
  • When something requires physical exertion for reward, IT reminds you of your “old man.”

In the movie, as any good Gen Xer can attest to, IT was vanquished with slingshots, melted silver, and the power of friends.  The Losers’ Club, as they called themselves. And ironically, surrounding yourself with fellow “losers” as you venture down the path of your new identity is one way we “losers” defeat IT.

Anyway, that was a fun rabbit trail…

When I was on Spring Break with my kiddoes, I saw all of these.  As I stood looking up a steep road at 2500 feet, I heard that stupid voice…the one that used to entice me with the promise of peace and sleep instead of a grueling workout. I heard IT as I ventured out to see a waterfall…I’d stand and look at steps, and rocks, wondering if I could make it.  But I did, with out fail.  And not only that, with ease.  Granted, the hike up a road to 3000 was not particularly easy, and some of the steeper stairs to the waterfalls came with some difficulty, that’s normal difficulty.

What does any of this have to do with Vicksburg National Military Park?

The last thing my family does when we return from our adventures out East of DFW, is Vicksburg.  I have pictures of my kids there that span 13 years and one day, they’ll all find their way into an awesome photo album.  But, in the past, it’s always been a drive thru visit.  Oh sure, I may get out at some of the bigger memorials…but for the most part, it was a drive thru experience.  But this one, somehow, was just different.  I stopped at all the memorials.  I walked down the trails…even the off the beaten path ones.  And I said yes to every request of my 10 yr old, to explore, and learn. But it didn’t click, not until, of all places, the cemetery.  Where dead men lay, right? Dry bones that are incapable of producing fruit…can sometimes disciple us, in unique ways.

There is an overlook at the Vicksburg Cemetery, that I have driven by…sheesh….many times.  The stairs are steep, winding, and small. But, as we approached it, I stopped and motioned to my child to come on.  His response was, “up there?”  So we walked, slowly and carefully up the wet stairs, until we reached the not so far off summit. There’s many things that crossed my mind that day.  But, for the point of this blog…the sheer volume of graves, Union, Confederate, and civilian undoubtedly, was pretty shocking. But in my shock, and awe, Jesus was loving me. And I realized that, in those hallowed grounds, my old man was dead and buried.  It wasn’t nearly as esteemed as those who had paid with their life for their beliefs, be they right or wrong, but…it was down there.  Somewhere.  And it was not meant to be resurrected.  I knew, at that moment, something had changed.  Not just in the natural but, in my spirit.

In your weight loss journey, there are always reasons to give up.  Reasons to quit.  Excuses for that cheat meal.  Something to do that distracts you from your goal. There are also reasons not to.  I want to be a willing participant on my journey of life.  I want to see, with my own eyes, the wonders the Lord has laid out. I’m not “fixed” yet…but detours aren’t helpful.  And maybe you need detours in your life.  For me, detours lead to dead ends.  So, I’m going to stick and stay.   I’m going to walk in victory.  And that old dead man, will have to stay dead and buried.




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