Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Dear Colleagues,


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At age 33, I was physically and emotionally spent,

having recently returned to the U. S. from living for several years in the tropics. When I tried to run around the block, my back ached, I got a headache, and of course I gasped for air. Hey, I had not exactly been a couch potatoRather a former Marine who had gone to pot!

Having made up my mind that I had to do something about my abysmal condition, I went over to the local pool and swam a few laps, feeling at any moment through the ordeal that I was going to loose my breakfast!

Somehow surviving the swim I decided to give my depleted body a rest and return at noon in two days. The plan would be to make it a Monday/Wednesday/Friday regimen, adding one lap each time I swam. To trim off the encroaching blubber around my middle, I elected to eat raisins and nuts, and drink O. J. for lunch on the swim days.

Well, it took six months for me to get my distance up to a mile (about the equivalent of running four miles). As anticipated, this self-imposed ordeal came replete with aching muscles, gulped in water, a chronic shortage of air, and an erratic swim style,

One day, after about two years into my exercise program, I realized to my surprise that I was actually enjoying the work out. The headaches and the pain in my muscles had disappeared, and my stroke had become smooth and rhythmic. The "tire" around my middle had vaporized. And I found myself crawling with energy!

Well, that was 34 years ago.

For the past couple of years Ive kicked the distance up to 1 miles, five days a week, and Im loving it! Most mornings there are older people in the pool (by "older" I mean 60+) who are seriously overweight, stroke victims, etc. All are trying to recoup what they have lost or failed to maintain in most cases through negligence. You know, a hard truth is that like it or not we will reap what we sow.

My next goal when I turn 70 in three years, is to swim Donner Lake in Northern California. Its 2.7 miles in length, at 6000 feet. The water is a relatively cold 69 degrees. Ive never been 70, so I have no idea if it is possible for me to swim it again (I previously swam it at ages 54 and 59). But at least thats my goal!

You know, I have never enjoyed life more than at this stage

! Had I neglected my body over those many years, I doubt I could make such a claim. Personally, I have discovered that the mental, physical, spiritual and social aspects of life are inextricably linked. Certainly we should learn from the balance observed in Jesus life in these areas: "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Lk. 2:52)


How are you doing in the physical fitness department? Im reminded of the bumper sticker that humorously advises, "Live long enough to be a problem to your children." Surely you wouldnt want to miss that opportunity! (Im joking, of course)

"Your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit?

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body." (I Cor. 6:19b,20 Msg) (See I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21; I Tim. 4:8)

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