An Unlikely Church

It’s amazing what you can learn when exercising at Curves. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a member of Curves for almost three years now—the first time in my life that I’ve managed to stick with an exercise program that didn’t involve swimming or folk dancing. I just need to be distracted while I wear myself out. Curves is perfect for that. Going from machine to machine occupies the body, but not the mind, so we chat with the other women as we huff and puff. These women are a wellspring of fascinating information. For example…

For a while there was the issue of what to wear for your kids’ weddings. It seems that “’mother of the bride” outfits come in two styles—senior prom and matronly. It takes a lot of creativity to come up with something flattering and appropriate, and these women are full of suggestions. I wish I’d met them when our daughters were engaged!

I never realized that loading the dishwasher was an indicator of one’s marital health. Pete and I have had our “issues” over the dishwasher. He’s more the random type, while I want everything organized to maximize efficiency. So, when he puts something in that isn’t in the “right place,” I rearrange it. He finds this incredibly annoying. Telling him that I often rearrange my own dishes doesn’t help. The result is that now all his dirty dishes get stacked in the sink or on the counter, and I do all the dishwasher loading. (In the interest of fairness, I should point out that he unloads it—a job I loathe. Thank you Sweetie!)

Well, an informal survey of the married ladies at Curves (done while I huffed and puffed) reveals that Pete and I are not alone. It seems that random loaders always marry picky loaders. And in every household, it’s the picky loader that ends up doing all the dishes. Knowing that made me feel much better.

Our topics range much further than fashion and housework. Where’s the best place to get your car detailed? Someone will know, and they’ll know where to get it repaired as well. Need a real estate agent? There’s an expert here somewhere. From gardening tips (a specialty of mine) to medical information to home repairs to where to go on vacation, you can learn it all at Curves.

We also celebrate with those who celebrate and weep with those who weep.

A few months ago, one of the members mentioned that her son had been assaulted by a gang of teenagers, robbed, beaten, and left for dead. He was in the hospital in an induced coma, and she was barely hanging on. Instantly, offers of help came pouring in. Did she need meals? Help with logistics? Many of us promised to pray for both of them. Every time she came to exercise, caring women asked how he was doing and how she was coping. He’s now in rehab, well on the road to recovery.

Another member is a spunky 89 year old who lives in her own house and drives her own car (safely, I might add, as I’ve ridden with her). She volunteers at a downtown thrift shop and visits “old people” often younger than she is. Her house was engulfed in smoke during the fires last summer and a lot of work needed to be done to make it livable again. Volunteers from Curves resurfaced her kitchen counters, painted, and helped her shop for replacement furniture and carpet.

Over the past few years, we’ve also pitched in with meals as she recovers from an assortment of joint replacement surgeries. She’s mentioned on several occasions that, while she’s been a member of a church her entire life, it’s the women at Curves who have loved her with Christ-like love.

That really caught my attention. Granted, I don’t have a lot of experience with different churches. I’ve only really been involved in four—two in California and two here in Colorado. All have had “women’s ministries” with retreats and teas and the like. But none of them came anywhere close to what I experience at what is a supposedly secular gym (with a lot of believing members). Why can’t church groups be like this?

One thought on “An Unlikely Church

  1. Yes, great article I totally agree! The school had started a volunteer exercise group with a great trainer but always at either 6am or in the evening, which is not when I want to exercise, so I couldn’t seem to stick with it. Plus, after the first round when everybody got a chance to do a circuit and visit, she changed it to work at your own pace, which meant that I didn’t talk with anyone and just felt dorky. I’m not the oldest one there, but neither am I one of the 20- something students who are lithe and fit! So, your article makes me want to go find a Curves! Tom can happily work out on the elliptical while watching TV, but I really would be more likely to succeed if there were a social component. Our church there in the Springs had a yoga group where we listened to Christian music, prayed, and meditated on Scripture while stretching and posing. I really looked forward to that, but it only lasted a few months. I wish we had Spiritual formation trainers who were also physical trainers–maybe there will be something like that soon. In this multi-tasking lifestyle we have, I can see it as the next church staff position!

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