I remarked on the phone the other day how my life tends to be rather ironic; usually in a comedic sense, which I suppose is the point of irony. It’s kind of like God’s way of making sure you don’t take everything too seriously, or at least so that you don’t put to much faith in your ability to work out the details of your life. So far this sounds rather theological in nature, but before going to far down that road before bedtime, let’s go back to the ironies in my life.
Case in point, I just posted a blog under this one with a lovely picture of a quad espresso over ice in a tall cup. Sometimes I get 6 shots in a grande, sometimes I get an iced 6 shot venti caramel macchiato, irrelevant I know, but since I moved to Dallas my coffee consumption increased from the usual drink in the morning to that plus 16 or so ounces of black coffee goodness in the afternoon to make it through class. Running the numbers I was looking at roughly 750 mg of caffeine on an average day (a shot is 75mg, black coffee is 20 mg an ounce). While this should work in my favor, it really was not in any way, and to make matters worse, I was getting rather angry at times, rather easily, usually in traffic since that is all Dallas is come 5pm or so. Coupled with a general lack of focus, poor skin tone, a bad taste in the mouth (which had been around since the summer) and slightly grey circles under the eyes, there could only be one conclusion.
About this point, you are probably wondering where the irony ran off to, so here it is, while I am a shift supervisor at Starbucks and literally immersed in coffee every time I work (sometimes I like to check the coffee on my bare hands to ensure freshness, some call it clumsiness, I call it quality control) I decided to give it up for an undetermined amount of time. That’s right, tenured Starbucks employee, deciding to stop drinking coffee. Hopefully that satisfies your appetite for irony.
Now about this point, being the good reader that you are, you are probably wondering what the one conclusion from earlier was, or is to remain in the present tense. All the aforementioned signs point to one thing (hopefully just one thing) – Liver toxicity. That’s right, I’ve been working my liver overtime, and its gotten a bit backed up. Rather than delve into all the intricacies of liver function and management, I’ll just note that the liver like it when you don’t overeat and when you do not eat many processed foods, two things I have failed to make accommodations for lately. Also, like alcohol, coffee (especially in nate-sized portions) puts an unnecessary burden on the liver. If my discourse on the liver’s methods has peaked your interests, check out a book by the same title as this blog and find out more.
In light of the coffee fast, everything has remarkably improved. I actually have more energy now from switching to green-tea lattes, mate lattes, the occasional chai, and a nice cup of China Green Tips (usually with an extra bag of Refresh) , not all in one day mind you. and also coupled with taking more vitamins and eating more vegetables (or at least drinking them). Focus has improved, temper has mellowed out (not that anyone really knew I was getting angry) and overall ability to function is improving.
Which is really the whole point of staying healthy, right? I mean, its not really possible to add days to life, but it very possible to add life to my days. By improving my health, I am able to more effectively function, and thus able to be more actively used in ministry. The more time I am not sick, the more time I have to do other more important things. Being healthy, eating natural foods and the like, is not really the end, its more of a means to an end, that end being optimal physical condition so that one can function to their fullest potential.
Its a parallel track to working out. No one goes to work out so they can boast later about how well they can do a lat-pulldown, or how perfect their biceps curl form is (ok, maybe some people do, but why?). No, you go and workout to get a better body, working out is the process, the refined physique is the end result. Nothing could be more foolish than to commit hours to the gym, not with the purpose of building a better body, but simply of performing the perfect set.
In Spirit of the Disciplines, Dallas Willard makes a similar analogy regarding the spiritual disciplines and that how they are not necessarily the end goal (there’s no sense in boasting how well you can sit in silence, or how good you are at fasting, although some do) but the means by which the body is brought into submission to God for the purpose of aligning our whole selves to Him. There is far more to it than that, but read the book for yourself, don’t let me condense it and water it down for you.
I was going to continue the argument and transfer it to school, but due to lateness, I’m just going to suspend dialogue instead. Maybe you can make the transfer on your own, what really is the end result of school? Is it a 4.0? Is it some of the things that we usually focus so much of our attention on during our college years, or is it really something else entirely?
Someone else can ponder these, for now, I’m going to work my way to bed and try to squeeze in those 6 hours of sleep before 4am rolls around again.
*originally a book by Don Colbert