Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
I have a confession, but don’t judge me. I’m a fatty.
That’s right. I am a a big ol’ fatty fatty of the clan Boombalatty.
But I do not write here today in some narcissistic pursuit of a cathartic revelation in which I proudly declare that “I ♥ my curves” or “curve” in my case since my shape is rapidly approaching the spherical.
No, I am not here to tell you that I look good fat. I don’t. I am here to tell you that I am good fat.
What say you, Patrick? Everyone knows that the truly holy sport the gaunt look. Kinda like David Bowie in the 70’s, but without all the weird androgynous-ness. Saints are skinny. Fat people are lazy, and lazy does not equate with holiness, you say!
Ah, but that is where you are wrong. My new found fattitude has opened up many new ways for holiness that the locust and wild honey eaters never imagined.
And I know of what I speak. For my real confession, and the source of my great wisdom, is not that I am fat, but rather that I used to be skinny.
As recently as a few years ago, I watched everything that I ate. I ran, swam, and biked miles and miles each day. I ran marathons. I completed dozens and dozens of triathlons. I even trained for and completed the ultimate endurance event, an Ironman triathlon. I was fit. I was trim. I, I, I…..
That’s the problem with being skinny, it’s all I, all the time. To maintain my unnatural state of skinny, I had to be perpetually focused on me.
But then my wife helped my find my true self, my fat self.
By early 2007, I had just finished the Ironman and I turned my focus to the 2007 race season. What new and exciting races would 2007 bring? But then my wife gently reminded me, by way of rolling pin, that we just had our fourth child and that perhaps I could focus on that, instead. So I did.
And as my waistline grew, so did my happiness and my holiness.
For instance, when I was fit and I needed something from upstairs, I would just go get it. But now, I have one of my children go get it.
There is a special time in a child’s life when they love to help. Get me this, get me that. They run off, full of joy, to fetch the desired item and beam when I say “You are the world’s greatest helper.” As they get a little older, they begin to resist a bit, but the added incentive of “I will time you!” gets their little feet moving and their grin a grinning.
In my selfish fitness, I missed all the joy I could bring to my children using them as little slaves.
Further, since I am not out training all the time, I am on the couch, a lot. This brings me very close to my children. Sometimes so close that they step in front of the television and I need to yell at them. But that is a small price to pay for such blessed proximity.
Being home all the time, I can now tell you what time my wife helps them with their homework, what time my wife makes them dinner, and what time my wife puts them to bed. When I think back on all the joys I missed, I get hungry. (Note—tell daughter to make me a sandwich.)
I know that my new found lethargy has brought me closer to my family and how could that not bring me closer to God?
Now I know, some people will make the case that you can be fit and a family man at the same time, that I shouldn’t be blaming my children for my laziness. But I’ve been there, I’ve done that. This way is much easier.
So I no longer judge people in the same way by their appearance. Now when I see the large, where I formerly saw laziness, I now see holiness. Where some people see rationalization, I see wisdom.
You should see my brother Matthew, I realize now that he is waaaaay holier than me. Way holier.
I would call to ask him how he does it, but my phone is way over there on the coffee table and there are no kids around right now. Maybe I will take a nap and they will be back when I wake up.