Reflections on Ash Wednesday and Diabetes

For those of you who don’t know besides being a diabetic and new pump user (on day 4) I am also an United Methodist Pastor working toward ordination.
Last night was also Ash Wednesday. Among other things Ash Wednesday is a time for renewal in the church as we calibrate the fasting of Jesus Christ and preparation for Easter. The sermon was from Psalm 51 (Davids prayer after Nathan called him out for murder and adultery). We prayed for forgiveness, we prayed for God spirit to be with us, we prayed for the courage to respond to God when called as part of the service. We all came down to the altar, kneeled, and prayed silently. I then allyed oil to my finger, dipped it int to the palm ash and made the mark of the cross on their foreheads. The benediction was a pray for forgiveness and reconciliation.
On the drive home I could not help but to think about how that applied to diabetes. The treatment diabetes (more so in adults) requires change in behaviors and habits. Checking blood glucose levels, learning what foods or combination of foods make it more difficult to control our glucose levels (30g of boiled while potatoes will raise my bg faster than 30g of cane sugar). I had to defeat a needle phobia to take insulin, and now I must account for every carb I eat so I can bolus with my pump.
We all make mistakes and develop bad habits with manging our health. I would like to invite those of us who celibate Lent and even those who do not to take time to reflect on those bad diabetic habits no matter how small, insignificant, or irreverent they seem to out treatment and health so we may find the best control possible.

I pray that you what you need this season,

Thanks for this post, Matthew. As I attended my church’s Ash Wednesday service yesterday, I felt guilty that I made a personal to decision to not “give up” something for Lent because last month I started a real commitment to getting my own bad diabetic habits in order. I just felt that I couldn’t take any time or energy away from that commitment. However, the idea of using Lent to reflect on my bad habits and strengthening my relationship with Jesus is definitely something I’d like to try this year.

I think that giving up something like chocolate for Lent is about as meaningful for most people as giving up eating boogers. Christ desires us to repent and reconcile our selves to the Lord. If we can work on an aspect of ourselves that can be put into service to God that often that is the more meaningful sacrifice for lent. I would rather see the diabetics in my parish have an A1C below 7 and live longer to serve God than deny themselves some earthly treat.