Batteries Not Included

October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Life has to be lived

Batteries not included

And that makes it tough

Because sometimes in life

You run out

Of everything

You run out of energy

Of strength

Of hope

And that’s when you wish

You had some hinge in the back

You could just open up

To replace with new batteries

And start again

Saturday we went to Walmart

And that is a miracle

Because Walmart is huge

And when I could still manage it

I would use the shopping cart as a walker

Something to help support me

From the back breaking pain that walking brought

But eventually I became too big even for that

So for years I couldn’t go there at all

Just the simple act of getting from my car

To the door

Was impossible

Even if I had the courage to get in the motorized cart

I wasn’t sure I could fit

So for years I didn’t go inside Walmart

Until I had the surgery

And then Walmart became part of my workout plan

“The Walmart Walk”

I had a map that my brother drew for me

With every bench and where it was located

After I progressed past counting mailboxes

I moved up to Walmart

And I started going from the car to the bench right outside

And a few weeks later I walked from that bench to the one located in the shoe section

Each week I would go a little further before heading back to my car

I became an expert at navigating Walmart and locating their benches

But now here I am

One year later

180 pounds lighter

And now I go to Walmart whenever I want

I don’t even think about where the benches are located

I use a shopping cart for shopping

Not as a walker

I can browse and spend all day if I want

Because there is no pain in my feet

Or my back

Life feels normal

Like it did so many years ago

Before obesity took me down and locked me up

So the kids and I were at Walmart

All the way at the back

Near the Legos (naturally..)

When we started hearing this BEEEEEEP!!!!

Very high pitched

Never ending

BEEEEEP !!!!!!

As we continued down the aisle

We got closer to it

And it got louder

I thought to myself

What is that? And when will it stop??

I passed other shoppers

And we gave each other nods

That mutual look of irritation

That unsaid “Yeah…it’s irritating me too!!”

And then we came to the end of the aisle

Back out to the main part of the store

And there she was

A woman about my size before the surgery

Sitting on a motorized cart

In the very middle of the main area

With shoppers having to go around her

Because the cart had apparently run out of its charge

Run out of batteries

And just like the smoke alarm

It was alerting the world that it needed to have its batteries changed

With a very loud high pitched BEEEEEEP!!!

That would never end

She couldn’t move

She was stuck

Stuck in the middle of Walmart

Right in the middle of the main area everyone walks down

On a busy Saturday afternoon

At the very back of the store

Unable to walk very far

Because of her weight

As people walked past her glaring

Irritated

Annoyed

The kids and I stopped in our tracks

Giving each other knowing looks

Immediately knowing the embarrassment this woman must feel

I began to walk towards her when a Walmart employee approached her with a shopping cart

And said

“Sorry we don’t have any other available scooters. But I brought you a shopping cart”

We knew that was not going to help her

There was no way she could walk from the back of the store

All the way to the front

On her own two feet with a shopping cart!

I knew that the employee

Probably had no idea

That what he was saying to her would in no way solve her problem

It was just one more horrific thing to add to her list of horrors that were unfolding in the past 5 minutes

I knew exactly what she was feeling right then

The humiliation

Knowing that she was in everyone’s way

And that she was totally stuck now at the back of the store

Unable to walk to the front

Right in the middle of the aisle

Angry people pushing past her giving her glares

Even one calling her a name I won’t repeat

The point is this

She was in the way

The motorized scooter was beeping

You could hear it all throughout the store

And she couldn’t do a thing about it

She was trapped

In the prison of her own body

And the world knew she was in this situation

By her own hand

Because she was obese

And because of that

The judgement darts were flying

The Walmart employee suggested

That he push her in the motorized cart back up to the front of the store

Since it would no longer move on its own

This embarrassed her as well

The thought of having to be pushed through the entire store

Because the motorized cart was broken

Broken like she was

No doubt on the inside as well

So the kids and I ran over

I told her “Let me push you just to the bench. It’s not far at all

Because remember…

I know where they ALL are!!

She agreed

Savannah immediately said she would go to the front and wait for a motorized scooter to become available

And the kids and I set out for the bench in the automotive section

The closest one to us

When we got there, I sat down on the bench next to her

And my other kids piled in next to me

And now this woman

Out of the way finally

Away from the crowd

Away from the people staring at her

Released the tears that had been welled up in her eyes

As she shook her head

And said “I just want to go home

I knew exactly how she felt

Home—the safe place

Our safe haven

Away from staring eyes

And judging lips

But I knew

I knew how much effort it takes at that weight to leave the house

To get to the store

If she had to go home without her stuff

It would be just one more nightmare in her day

I asked her if we could go get the rest of the items on her list

While she waited

This made her uncomfortable

I had a feeling she didn’t want us to know

What other items  she might be purchasing

Wondering if we would judge her for them

Like the ice cream and the donuts and the cake

Already in the cart

I understood how she felt

How she dreaded coming to the store

How she dreaded even the cashier seeing what she was buying

Always feeling on display

This woman was silent

I’m sure she wasn’t sure what to make of this crazy family who had descended upon her

Started pushing her off to some bench in the automotive section

Finally she said

You don’t have to help me.  It’s not your problem

And then Charlotte replied

Oh it is her problem.  She’s just like you.”

And she’s right

Because whether I’m 417 pounds

Or 217

Or 117

This IS my problem

And it always will be

It will be either a battle i”m winning

Or a battle I’m losing

But it will always be my battle to fight

And when everyone else in that store saw a woman who was in the way

Who was annoying

I saw a fellow warrior

Fallen in battle

I told her

I get it.  You’re ME. I”m YOU.”

And I told her a bit of my journey

While Charlotte held her hand and patted it gently

Smiling at her and occasionally wiping her tears away with the corner of her sleeve

Finally Savannah returned with a cart

That was charged up with fresh batteries

We transferred the items from that cart to the new one

And helped her get in it

Before we left her though

She asked me for my number

Something that probably wasn’t easy for her to do

Because isolation is how we protect ourselves

From the world that doesn’t understand our pain

As we parted ways, Charlotte called out

Now don’t you forget to call if you need something.”

Then she did what she often does

She glared at CJ

Gave him the look

They’re funny these two

They’re much like twins only 18 months apart

And Charlotte is always giving CJ the “look”

I’ve got a feeling when he grows up

He’ll make a great husband

After having survived a single mom and three sisters!

So she gave him the “look” which meant SAY SOMETHING

So he gave the lady a thumbs up

And said…”You got this

Ah…my boy 🙂

But I was proud of my kids

Proud that they cared about her feelings

That they wanted to help

Because one of the worst things in the world

Is feeling totally alone

Like no one gets the pain you feel

No one understands your struggle

This experience reminded me how very lucky I am

To be winning this battle

Because so many years went by where I didn’t even have the will to fight

I’m thankful for where this journey has brought me

And for what the future holds

But more than that

I’m grateful that my children have used this experience

Not to see what they  missed out on for all those years

But instead to view the world through a more compassionate lens

Life doesn’t come with a fresh pack of batteries

So sometimes we need to find our charge in others

We need someone to come along and give us a push

To remind us

That we are not alone

Because there is a world of people out there

Fighting this battle right along with us

Everywhere you go, there they are

Some are fallen

Some are on the front lines

And some have yet to join the fight

But they’re out there

We usually just see each other passing by

We don’t always get a chance to speak

About that bond we share

But when we do it’s a reminder

That the battlefield is full of  warriors

So when you get a chance

Help one of the fallen if you can  (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Because tomorrow that person may be  you

And we were never meant to fight  alone  (John 14:18)

That stranger a few aisles away

May be one of ours

One of the fallen

Their story may be unknown to you

But you  see them

Maybe they are smiling through the pain

Making jokes at their own expense

Before anyone else can

Struggling to reach that can on the top shelf

From where they sit in their motorized cart

Only buying 10 items at a time

Because their feet and back can’t take a line longer than the express lane

They’re out there

When you see them you’ll know

That soldier is one of ours

The battle is long

It’s hard

And it’s full of many trials and tribulations  (John 16:33)

But together we can do this

This battle is ours for the taking

So recharge your batteries

And get ready

Tomorrow we live to fight another day!

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Kendra Little October 3, 2012 at 4:29 am

This story really moved me. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 5:24 am

Thanks Kendra!

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Staci October 3, 2012 at 4:36 am

Love this. And yanno, when we are personally going through something, we can’t see that good could ever come of it. But God so often lets us suffer things so that we can then help others in life. I have found it to be true with several things in my own personal life. This poor woman… and you could completely empathize with her. I have this weird way of putting myself in other people’s shoes mentally when I see situations going on in public. It’s kind of a curse because it makes me involve myself in stuff that is not any of my business. LOL But sometimes I’ve been able to be a help and comfort to someone, just as you were on the day that this happened. Love the thumbs up story, too. ROFL
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 5:24 am

I know how you feel Staci!! Sometimes I want to run over and help someone when they might prefer I mind my own business!! I guess this woman didn’t get a choice that day as we descended on her!! LOL

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Tully October 3, 2012 at 5:26 am

I didn’t realize until I was almost finished reading this post that I was holding my breath because I was so worried about that poor woman. I am just so thankful there are people like you and your kids in this world to help her out and show her that she does not need to be ashamed of herself.

You must be so unbelievably proud of your kids. I know you think you let your kids down sometimes when you were at your biggest, but what you did was teach them how to be respectful and compassionate human beings, which is the most important thing.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 5:34 am

Thank you Tully. I think I am beginning to see this too. While I wish sometimes I could turn back the clock, I can see now that there are all kinds of lessons we’ve learned. And maybe in the end it was all worth it!!

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Merrily October 3, 2012 at 5:27 am

I don’t know this Holly you describe. The Holly I know runs 100 meters with a 45 pound barbell across her shoulders. Walking from bench to bench? The Holly I know is running, doing push-ups, kettle bell swings, and burpees! I have a head time picturing the you before. The you I see at the box is so different. You’ve come such a long ways! And just imagine where you will be 4 months from now!!!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 5:37 am

Thanks Merrily!! It is pretty amazing to think that I could come so far in only one year’s time. It is really amazing how quickly our bodies will adapt and change once we are given the right opportunities!! I sure do miss seeing you all when I am not there. This week is so hectic but I can’t believe how much I’ve learned about working out since coming to Crossfit. I’m actually able to do a Crossfit workout at home now and feel like I’m not getting off track too much. In fact yesterday I ran to the light pole here and imagined it was the lightpole there!! It’s kind of cool passing up the mailboxes that I could barely walk to only one year ago. It’s so awesome that hope is available to us all! Can’t wait to see what 4 months brings us both!!

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Adelyn October 3, 2012 at 10:59 am

Your post has so moved me that I am not even sure my words will make sense. What I do know is that compassion has to be at the heart of all we are doing. Issues with food is something that has to be lived very very publicly…we can’t hide it. To think that the battle is only eat less, move more negates what is really at the heart of it all. You always remind people that our battle is with the shame, the guilt, the lifetime of feeling less than. It is so often the heart that needs the most attention. And the mind.

Thank you for your story, your witness, and your efforts to pay it forward–within your family, across the internet and with the people you meet in person. You inspire me to be even more compassionate and true to who I am.
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Linda Kuil October 3, 2012 at 11:48 am

Sitting here, crying for that woman’s pain. I surely hope she calls you. You are now paying forward the uplifting hand, the compassionate push your brother gave you. Tell her we are ALL pulling (PUSHING) for her!!!
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Melissa October 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

This was such an inspiration! I am so proud of your children for helping, understanding, and being empathetic. You have done a good job raising them and they will be forever advocates.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Thank you Melissa!! That warms this mother’s heart!

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Marc October 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm

From now on when a situation arrises, I’ll just stop and think, WWHD? (what would Holly do?:)
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

LOL Marc!! Unfortunately half the time the answer you might get is…eat the donut!! That’s why I have to be careful as to which voice in my head I’m listening to!!!

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Kelliann October 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Wow – what an experience. And what amazing, kind-hearted, compassionate children you are rasing. Go mom!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Oh thanks Kelliann!!

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lady amanda October 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I was crying at different points during this story. So glad you were there to talk to her.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Oh thanks!! I was so glad I was there too! It felt like God put me in that path and I hope I hear from her again!

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Beth M. October 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Your blog posts never fail to move me, and honestly, I may have to quit reading them on my break at work for fear they’ll make me cry! You are a blessing in this world, and an awesome mom raising kids who are going to be amazing people.
It got me to thinking about the “batteries” analogy, and that sometimes, other people can be our batteries. They can give us the support, or encouragement, or sympathy we need, just when we need it, just enough to help us climb over the hurdle of the moment and recognize our own inner strength. You and your family were that woman’s batteries. You rock!!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Oh my goodness!! The part about your work made me laugh!! I’m sorry!! I like your analogy about the batteries. I feel charged up already just reading this encouraging comment!!

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Nikki Mohamed October 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Wow. I hope she calls. I hope she has reached the corner of decision and finally turns it. Thanks for this story. And God bless your kids. Clearly, you’re doing it right.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Thanks Nikki!! Hope everything is going well your way. I also hope she calls. Why didn’t I get HER number?? SHEESH!! I probably should have!

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G Cottle October 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I may be still too early in my process because every time you blog, I feel tears well up. Every word hits just a little painfully on the head of the nail. I love your posts… I’m not complaining a bit. I am in such awe at the raw feelings they bring up for me. I’m inspired to make each day better and I keep taking baby steps to my health goals but I’m also compelled to do better in other ways too. I’m so glad you were able to help this stranger in a way that she could accept and with minimal humiliation. Your children are fortunate to see your compassion in action. Good for you!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Thank you so much! I think this journey does bring out raw emotions. I never realized how much unprocessed junk I had inside of me stuffed down on top of so many years of overeating to numb a lot of pain. In some ways we eat to deal with our emotions. But then we also eat to deal with the guilt over our eating. And all in between are so many emotions. It is a process to deal with them instead of ‘eat’ them. I feel the same way that you do about that!!!

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Elizabeth October 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm

That brought tears to my eyes! What an amazing persona and mother you are!! You have raised them well! 🙂
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Thank you so much Elizabeth!!

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M October 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I love what you did for that lady, and your children did for that lady. I hope she calls you….but even if she doesn’t, she’ll never, ever forget your kindness. Loved the story…you always write the best posts.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Thanks M!!

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Brande October 4, 2012 at 12:48 am

Wow!! That lady was blessed by you and your children. Thank God you and your children where there to help her. I am humbled and in awe of you. Keep up the good work!

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Jeanette October 4, 2012 at 2:43 am

Another wonderful post that made me cry. I cried because I can relate in a great way being very overweight myself. I truely believe God sent you in walmart to be a woman of compassion to that lady. I am sure you touched her deeply and I only hope that someday I can lose my weight and help someone who is struggling like you did. People who have never been overweight simply don’t understand the fear we have and how hard doing simple things like shopping can be. God bless you and your precious children. They are very special kids and you have done a wonderful job in how your raising them.

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Steelers6 October 4, 2012 at 4:15 am

Oh, so cool! You all were Jesus in WM
that day. I feel like it helps me to hear
you describe the details of your former
life, bc otherwise I would not know
what a trip to WM might be like for some
ppl. Thanks for telling those details.

Even if she never calls you, you & your
fam will probably pray for her, & you
sure were a blessing.

My daughter & I had an opportunity to
be a blessing to strangers last wkend
also. Afterward my daughter said
“You’re a helping kind of person.”
Yes, why yes I am. 🙂 It is who I am, but
I love the added bonus of the example
it is to her. (She’s abt Savannah’s age.)
Chrissy

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Cathy in Missouri October 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

{Antonio Machado, 1875-1939}

*****

Which made me think of you, Holly, speaking and showing sweetness beyond sweetness (the kind that does not come back to sting, later on) to this woman

and your sweet-beyond-sweet children, right along with you.

Your stories stick to me, stick with me, stick inside my head and change the course of my thoughts

each time I read here.

Honey Bees ~ Holly & Co. ~ pouring out honey in Walmart (in automotive! I love it!),

CiM

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Sheila October 4, 2012 at 11:59 am

I am very much a “everything happens for a reason” type person and I do think that you were meant to be there for this woman. What a wonderful testament to how far you have come and another testament to what wonderful children you have raised. Being obese is so much of wearing your pain on the outside, it’s a cruel twist because everyone can SEE it and JUDGE it. There is no where to hide. I’m so thankful that she asked for your number and I hope that at some point she is willing to find the courage to start her own journey.
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Robyn October 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

You are raising amazing children.
Holly, God has plans fo ryou everywhere. I beleive that you have gone through the things in your life for a reason and you are living that reason.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 4, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Thank you Robyn! I also believe that the things we have been through in life can be given a purpose when we use them to help others. This is what makes me not regret the bad times b/c now I have met so many awesome people who have been through some things that I can relate to. And we gain strength from each other!

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jennxaz October 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I love the compassion you have taught your kids…that is something a lot of kids these days do not have(or adults either) What an angel you were that day for that lady…way to give back. You are beautiful Holly on the inside and out!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm

Thank you so much!! I appreciate that!

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adorkbl October 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm

**I saw a fellow warrior, Fallen in battle**

Beautiful sentiment.

**So he gave the lady a thumbs up
And said…”You got this”**

Gave me chills. amazing kids you are raising. simply amazing.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Thank you so much!!

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Martha October 5, 2012 at 2:12 am

I cried a little reading this, what a touching story, you have obviously raised your kids extremely well and taught them to be compassionate and caring!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 5, 2012 at 2:14 am

Thank you Martha! I really appreciate that 🙂

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh October 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Why are there not more people in the world like you and the wonderful, compassionate kids you’re raising? I’m pretty sure if you never hear from that woman again, you’ve changed her life.
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Amanda October 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm

OK. First, they moved my desk at work so you can’t be making me cry anymore!

Next, your kids are awesome.

And finally, what you did for that woman goes beyond words. We all talk the talk but you, my fine lady, walk the walk. What you did for her probably meant SO much to her and made that day a little less harrowing. Truly an angel.
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Gen November 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

You may never know what she was going to get that day. That small act of compassion and listening may have turned her life around….or just a “I get it” that she needed to hear. We never know whose lives we affect….even in ways we may never know.
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Erin September 11, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Holly, that was so heartwarming. I love your blog and this was such a beautiful story.

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