Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Awesome Alaska Twelve Months ago

Waiting for the Glacier to Carve

This time last year we had embarked on our Alaskan Cruise. I remember stopping to chat with a couple from Pennsylvania/New Jersey area. We had seen this couple on our two previous cruises with Catch The Fire, (Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship) and been impressed by their size. When you see a couple who are hugely overweight what do you think? There were times when we thought they were brother and sister and that they couldn't possibly be income earners so must be living on inherited money. They appeared to have sufficient income for all the bells and whistles and nice clothes. We know how expensive that is when you are huge. Although they waddled around I admired their courage as they were fully involved in all our activities. I have photos of them in bathingsuits out swimming with the stingrays back in 2006. I didn't go out on that tour but TWJ did. I don't think I wanted wear my bathingsuit in public or something like that. We even wondered if the man had some kind of handicap, healthwise or possibly mentally slow.

Swimming with Stingray, Carribean Cruise, March, 2006

I tell you without a word of a lie I am thoroughly ashamed of some of the things I thought about this extremely obese couple. Ironic when I am categorized morbidly obese. I'm ashamed to admit that I made judgements about this couple without ever speaking to them.

Being seen with fat people is something I have carefully avoided. Talk about judgemental and the pot calling the kettle black. There was a time when seeing a fat person would make me shudder and feel sick inside. That began when I was a young woman and slim. I distinctly remember a particular moment. I was a young mother out shopping on my own. I watched a woman cross the street with her child in a pram. She was considerable overweight. I felt disgust and horror. I had an attitude toward fat people that I knew was unhealthy and continued to feel even after I myself became obese.

On our two previous cruises I had wanted to approach this couple but didn't know how to do so. I didn't want to single them out, they had their own friends, I'm not good at going up to strangers. Excuses, excuses! I was impressed that they were known to the team from the Church but even that didn't improve my attitude. To be honest I'm not sure that I have fully let go of my bad attitude and prejudice toward overweight people.

This time I couldn't help noticing they have lost weight but also I seemed to be in a better place as far as making the first move to meet people. The evening of our second or third night at sea we went to the 24 hour buffet restaurant for a very late supper. The sea had been rough for the last day or so. The ship had rocked and rolled, not much, but enough to unsettle stomachs, and many were suffering from seasickness. I had got through quite well but there weren't too many people around eating so when I saw this couple I introduced myself and asked to join them. We had some interesting conversation. I commented that they'd lost a significant amount of weight and they mentioned they were seeing a medical specialist. We didn't dwell on the subject and I never had another chance to chat with them.

I discovered they are a married couple and he is in IT, quite probably self-employed with a healthy income, and presumably secure because they didn't seem to have any concerns about the economy.

I received a lesson that night on how my sick prejudices can jump to seriously wrong conclusions. I am ashamed of my past thoughts about this delightful couple which were all based on their weight without knowing anything about them.

I work to overcome this prejudice. I train my mind, I don't let myself dwell on the negative thoughts that come with my prejudice. But they are there. My mind is sick and as I confess this, here, I'm asking God to do a healing and a cleansing work. I suspect this prejudice comes from fear of being fat. I have battled against this fear all my life it seems and now the fear that I have has come to bite me. OUCH!!!

1 John 1:9 (New Living Translation)

9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

It would be a good thing to be totally free from all the sick thoughts I have associated with fat people including myself.

Looking back can be a good thing if we learn from our mistakes and deal with sick attitudes.

1 comment:

Chris H said...

We are all guilty of judging others too quickly sometimes. Don't be hard on yourself.