October 28, 2005

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Applying ‘get-rid-of-mode’ to challenge

Periodically going through my stacks of paper creates more space if I am in what my sister calls a “get-rid-of-mode.” I often unearth something useful. Recently, while in a weeklong “get-rid-of-mode,” I found a 1988 church bulletin from a parish in my Belleville, Ill., hometown, probably saved for the following (imperfect) light verse. I share it prose style to conserve space:

Dieter’s Prayer

“Lord, my soul is ripped with riot incited by my wicked diet. ‘We are what we eat,’ said a wise old man. Lord, if that’s true, I’m a garbage can. On Judgment Day, I want to rise, but at this weight I’ll need a crane. Give me this day my daily slice, but cut it thin and toast it twice. Each night, I pray my heavy prayers to be delivered of chocolate éclairs. And when my days of trial are done and war with malts and shakes is won, let me stand with saints robed in super-size 37. I can do it, Lord, if you show me the virtues of lettuce and celery; if you teach me the evils of mayonnaise, the sinfulness of Hollandaise and crisp fried chicken from the South. Lord, if you love me, please shut my mouth.”

The author? An “Anonymous Fat Person.” Some readers might think my sharing this is a silly waste of space—or perhaps chuckle at the silliness—or perhaps cringe because it dredges up personal concerns for oneself or a loved one.

Nationwide, programs are being launched to help people who are weight-challenged. Hoosiers are high on the obesity list. What concerns me though is how well-publicized diet campaigns might spur more prejudice than there already is toward overweight people. That prejudice is cruel.

I was once an overly overweight person because of long-term extremely large doses of prednisone for Myasthenia Gravis. At the time, surely not even (the now deceased) doctor prescribing this knew that results would lead to serious problems, including osteoporosis. Ever so slowly, the pounds have lessened, but my bones will never be the same.

So, if some readers are openly and overly judgmental about people who are weight-challenged, please do not ridicule them lest some day an illness or medication or genetics prove first-hand what it is like to be in their shoes. By the same token, if readers are close enough to someone to voice concern, do that; but please do it gently from a position of concern and love.

Meanwhile, a weight-loss program located on the Internet—The Light Weigh at www.lightweigh.com, is Catholic-founded and Catholic-based. If readers are in a “get-rid-of-weight mode,” call toll-free 877-589-3444 or write to lightweigh@aol.com for more information.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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