My eating disorder was cemented on an airplane. I was going to visit my sister who was grieving. I could feel her pain in her words and silence over the telephone, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to see her. Rich and I made arrangements, and soon I was zooming through the air at a speed that makes 1000 miles seem not so far after all.
I was completely furious over the events that had led me to this place. I pulled my jacket over my head to shut out everyone around me. And there under my black and maroon parka I announced to God that I was no longer eating. “What are you going to do about it?” I demanded.
The stewardess came down the aisle and left a packet of crackers on my tray. I snatched them up as I was leaving the plane. When I walked past a trash can, I crushed the crackers and thunked them hard into it. I was serious about this eating thing, and I hoped God was watching. He was. And He had many things to say. And He did many things about it.
One day, several months later and after I’d had a little education about eating disorders and a little counseling under my belt, breakfast was offered at church for “Friends Day.” I had been trying to avoid this event and had eaten at home and come late on purpose to miss that part. I wanted my children to eat the more nutritious offerings we had at home. I didn’t want to manage four children and their beverages in the sanctuary as the service began. I wanted to worship without distraction.
I ran into my oldest in the foyer just before the service started. Noticing the blueberry muffin he had in his hand, I made a face. He looked at me and with frustration said, “A blueberry muffin isn’t bad!”, slammed it hard down into the trash, turned and went into the sanctuary to find his place for worship.
I stood there horrified. In an instant I was back at the airport next to the can where I had trashed my crackers.
“Oh, God! Help! What am I teaching my children?”
He was right. A blueberry muffin is not bad. It is acceptable for a growing boy to eat breakfast at home and still enjoy a blueberry muffin at church.
The service had begun. I didn’t care. I pulled him out and back to the foyer where we could talk alone for a minute. “I’m so sorry, babe.” I held his hand and I looked right at him. “You are right. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a blueberry muffin.” I did not explain all I knew about eating disorders to this pre-adolescent boy, but I remembered out loud with him that God made food both to fuel our bodies and to be enjoyed. “Let’s face it,” I smiled at him, “blueberry muffins are delicious!” He returned the smile.
I don’t ultimately know what he took away from that interaction. But I took some things away. Sometimes I make parenting mistakes. Sometimes they involve food. I can’t unmake that look I give him when I first saw him with the muffin. But, I can apologize, I can speak the truth out loud for both of us to hear, and I can ask God to extend his grace to both parent and child.
The Truth about Fats (articles – Constance Rhodes)
Our Issues Become Our Kids’ Issues (Eugene Hung)