Would You Die For What You Believe In?

01/16/2015

Would you die for what you believed?

Could you?

I’ve told you before that I listen to at least a portion of the Mass on EWTN almost every day (TV when I can and radio when I’m on the road). Today, I listened on the radio as I drove to my next appointment.

Today is a feast day for the Franciscans, honoring five early followers of Saint Francis who martyred themselves instead of renouncing their faith.  Father Leonard Mary celebrated Mass today. He used his homily to give a brief history of the martyrs and how they were tempted by their captors before being killed. Father Leonard then mentioned something called White Martyrdom. White Martyrdom is not a physical death, he explained, but a dying to oneself.

The comparison was clear. How can we martyr ourselves in our everyday lives?

—————————————————-

Later this morning, sitting in Panera before my next personal training session, I overheard a gentleman telling his companion how Catholics had … oh… let’s call it, “a damaging way” of looking at sin, and how sharing that perspective with others is harmful to the way other people live their lives.

What?!?

I couldn’t get my headphones shoved into my ears fast enough. I needed music. Loud music. I didn’t want to listen to what this man was saying, kind and soft-spoken though he was. Despite his demeanor, his opinion — at least on this matter — didn’t strike me as kind and gentle, but rather reckless and damaging. I wasn’t angry, but I was upset at what I perceived as some egregious misconceptions.

I was trading text messages with my son, Stephen, at the time that I happened to overhear this conversation. I fired off a text message to him, expressing my exasperation over what I heard.

After I sent it, I decided that my words were so clever, I had to post them to Facebook.

—————————————————-

I’m a member of a small, Christian Facebook group whose purpose is to “uplift and encourage (others) through the Gospel of Christ” (that’s a paraphrase of the mission statement). Today, the founder of the group, Mariane, continued and concluded a series of reflections on moving “from darkness to light:”

“I wish that we were all full of light and love and good works always. But no, we’re still sinners, imperfect, we’re still influenced by our flesh, the world and the voice of Satan…

“… there is the aspect of free will. We need to say YES to Jesus and God’s will and say no to the devil and our flesh every day. We need to die in our flesh every day (1 Cor 15:31).”

I read Mariane’s words just after my “clever” text to Stephen. Before I almost posted my “clever” words to my Facebook page.

—————————————————-

I briefly thought about speaking up. But what would I have said? Would my “clever” words to the gentleman have been constructive? Or provocative? Would I have properly seized the moment, as Saint Paul preached, and attempted to “walk into the light?” Or would my response, in that awkward, uncomfortable moment, have demonstrated to the world that I have not — yet again — died to the flesh?

Shoving the earbuds against my skull proved to be the more prudent, if only merely accidental, course of action.

—————————————————-

Father Leonard is right. White Martyrdom is possible. Any day. Every day.

Consider how challenging it is to die to the flesh at any given moment.

Then contemplate the lives — and deaths — of those who make the ultimate Earthly sacrifice.

Advertisements

It IS Your Fault!

12/01/2014

I have HAD it! ENOUGH with the commercials telling me that it’s not my fault.

IT IS MY FAULT.

And…

IT IS YOUR FAULT.

Does anyone take responsibility for anything any more?

This is crazy!

You can’t lose weight but it’s not your fault.

You can’t find a job and it’s not your fault.

You’re addicted to junk food and it’s not your fault. It’s the potato chip’s fault. Oh. And advertisers. And the evil manufacturers. Probably even the president of the company!

You can’t perform in the bedroom and it’s not your fault.

Your child’s behavior is not your fault.

Your divorce is not your fault.

Your crappy password is not your fault.

Neither is your lousy golf swing.

Even being buried in credit card debt is not your fault.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to blame you for everything that happens to you. Don’t confuse me with the guy who blames the woman who is raped or abused. Don’t think I deny medical evidence of uncontrollable weight issues or physical incapacity. Don’t discount what I have to say because you know people who had ‘this condition’ or ‘that misfortune’…

That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about being willing to take a little personal responsibility.

Sometimes, when you can’t lose weight, it’s because you don’t really want to lose weight.

Sometimes, when you can’t stop overeating, it’s because you don’t want to stop eating.

Sometimes, when you’re unhappy with the way your body looks, it’s because you’re really not motivated to do anything about it.

Sometimes in life – and I dare say, quite often – it IS your fault!

It’s not because you can’t. It’s because you won’t.

We live at a time when culture and society want to explain away any and every negative experience as just another injustice done to us. We can’t help our reactions. We can justify our actions by what it happening around us or to us.

And none of it is our fault.

Bullshit.  (pardon me)

I’m sick of it.

If you haven’t noticed, we live in a world of propaganda. You have to search for real news. You need to dig deep to evaluate whether what you’re hearing is fact, or someone’s interpretation of what happened, or has been deliberately skewed to make you think a certain way.

Children cannot be trusted with the facts any more. They have to be taught how to think, what to think. Powers of reason are trampled in favor of popular thought.

And when I say children, I’m not limiting the definition to preschoolers and early grade school. Middle school, junior high, high school curricula are peppered with propaganda.

Even colleges and universities trample honest reason and debate.

What’s wrong with us?

Being taught what to think. Personal responsibility takes a back seat to being taken care of… because we can’t take care of ourselves?

Is it possible that we can’t lose weight because we eat too much?

Is it possible I eat too much junk food because I enjoy it?

Is it possible I could learn how the body works and make changes to my lifestyle that can help me get and stay healthier than I’ve ever been in my life?

Can you?

I challenge you to try.

In my early forties, I changed the way I ate. I studied, evaluated, and experimented with every popular diet and “eating plan.” I learned that what and how I ate made a difference. I learned that I could eat what I wanted to eat, within reason, but I also discovered that choosing to eliminate certain types of food from my diet made a significant difference in how I felt.

I changed the way I approached fitness. No more run around the racquetball court for an hour and think I’m in great physical condition. I learned that my concept of cardiovascular exercise as a fitness tool was all wrong. I learned why strength training was not just for meat heads and egomaniacs, but an essential part of long-term health.

I eliminated post-lunch drowsiness, my chronically cold hands and feet, and many minor physical ailments. I didn’t get sick as often. I ate more and felt better than ever. I actually even liked the way parts of my body looked that used to disgust me.

I learned that certain people weren’t born with a good metabolism and that I could even change mine.

And I can change yours, too.

Don’t want to change?

Then maybe it IS your fault.

I’m not always this cold. In fact, ask my clients. I never come across like this working one-on-one with them. But I heard “it’s not your fault” one too many times today.

And I snapped.


Introducing… Me!

08/29/2012

Hi everybody.  My name is Dave Kwiecinski.  I live with my beautiful wife, Kathy, and the youngest of our five children, Martha, in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois.  Take a look at a map… we’re at the corner of Lake Michigan and the Wisconsin state line.  See us waving to you?

I’m a “recovering CPA” who still prepares income tax returns every spring (keeps the mind sharp).  When I graduated from high school (many, many moons ago), I was convinced that I would make my living as a writer and author.  That’s all I wanted to do with my life.

College has a way of reshaping expectations and aspirations.

I wish I could blame it on the drugs, but I didn’t take ’em.  No alcohol either.  Not enough anyway.  But something made me do “accounting.”

Well, not something… someone.

Me.

I’m analytical, have a head for numbers, the rest is history.  Early into my career, I knew I had made a mistake and kept trying to “fix it.”

Over the last 32 years (yikes), the one constant theme of my life has been taxes.  Tax prep.  Consulting.

One more constant.  The unquenchable desire to help people.

Getting Kathy through nursing school, five kids, three in diapers, helping her through some major health issues, school activities… weeks blurred into months, months into years… it was easier to remain a CPA through it all.

Fast-forward to the late 1990s.  A minor health scare resulted in a trip to the emergency room.

Much ado about nothing, but to make a long story very brief, it was the catalyst to a second career as a personal fitness trainer and a new goal: to live to age 100.

Not just limp along, mind you, and gasp out my last as I crossed the “Age 100” finish line, but to live, to thrive, and to matter… all God-willing… until I’m at least 100 years old.

I have a lot to give, so much to share, and there’s so much I wish to experience, it’ll take that long to fit it all in.

————————–

In 2004, I became a personal fitness trainer.  My new career journey began as a classic “rep counter” at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, Illinois.  My practice has evolved into a variety of specialties, from working with clients suffering from debilitating disease, such as Parkinson’s and MS, helping the “unwell” move closer to optimal health and away from preventable diseases on the life cycle continuum, to simply helping those of us in our “middle years” cope with the ravages of time’s assault on our physical structure and those looking to transform their bodies for whatever reason.

I don’t own a gym or a studio.  I make house calls.

I will write more about how I provide solutions for you in a future blog post.  For now, I simply want to introduce myself.

————————–

I still aspire to be a writer.

The next leg in my own personal transformational journey commences today.

I will assist many more of you virtually than I can individually, in a one-on-one setting, so I am entering the world of online business to search for people hurting and seeking solutions to their physical challenges.  This will fulfill my lifelong expectation that I would live my life as a writer and author, a dream sidetracked by misplaced ambition, then life circumstances, and personal choice.

My choice now is to bring me back to my center.  And thus help hundreds, perhaps thousands of you… not just a handful… at a time.  I have a lot to give, so much to share, and I still have that same unquenchable desire.  To help you get what you want.

Let me know about you.  What are your expectations for your life?  How can I help you achieve them?  Send me an e-mail: dave@davekfitness.com.

I cannot wait to help you.


%d bloggers like this: