One of the best things that ever happened to your aunt was when she went into the world of bodybuilding. Yes, ONE, of the best I said. For the most part, life has been good to me. There has consistently been  a Guiding Presence throughout my life, even when I entered seemingly dark places.  Naivete can either kill you or it can work on your behalf. Pretty much 99% of the time it worked in my favor, but I do not advise any of you to take this route. It is a different world—an extremely dangerous world today. It is important to know who you are, whose you are, and in order to know that, you must know the purpose for which you are created. It is not sufficient to know your ethnic or cultural roots. It is important also to know the purpose of the essence of your being as a living soul.

The Culture-The World

First, know that you are a soul who will never die. Second, know that everything except your soul is not permanent, including your body. Your body was created for God’s glory. You are His finest creation, beautifully crafted out of dust where you will temporarily return. In the meantime, you have an obligation to upkeep, protect, and nurture your body, for it belongs to your Creator–not you. He has plans for you that will supersede yours. But pay attention, because he will give you desires in your heart that will point you in his direction. As you live in this universe he has created, do not be deceived in thinking your body is who you are. It is your vessel. Do not live from its perspective, for all  you will see are your flaws and imperfections. The world will encourage you to focus on how you look. It will make you feel that it is your image that defines your success, your looks that determines your level of success, and it is your looks that qualify you. Do not listen to any of these voices; they are only distractions in the game of life. If life were a tennis match, we would have seen this played out perfectly well with Serena Williams. The amount of attention given to Serena’s body was what was shaming and damning more than anything else. She was criticized for being too fat or too muscular despite her success or achievement. The fact is, who gives a hoot? Actually, I do. Let no one deceive you. If you have to choose muscle over fat, choose muscle despite the folly that even some athletes believe about muscles being unfeminine.

Muscle vs. Fat

Muscle will preserve the vessels you are given stewardship over. I am now entering my late forties, and I still do not struggle with being overweight.  My body composition is still mainly muscle, and I wear a size 4-6. Muscles, although heavier, occupy less space than fat. Muscles are metabolic; as a result, you will burn more fat even at rest. As I enter the late season of my years, I have become incredibly grateful to my training in bodybuilding. Right now, you all are in the prime of your lives. Your body is not struggling to keep its muscle tone, but one day it will. It is inevitable. The aging process cannot be stopped. No amount of plastic surgeries will prevent it. No amount of organic foods will make it not occur. There is no elixir of life. However, sarcopenia can be slowed down if you developed enough muscles now. Then, it will be just a matter of preservation. But understand that the preservation of the body is for a greater purpose than yourself.

The Purpose

God has a purpose for your beautiful bodies while here on earth. It is what he will use to accomplish his will on Earth. He has gifted you with these bodies. Treat them well, for they are fragile. Learn to rest them, so they can heal; they are in need of constant repair. If they are strong, they will at least last for 80 years. I am hoping for 100 at least, knowing that most of my years are now behind me. Does this sadden me? Of course, not. For I now see with eyes of the soul. That is who you truly are. If your soul is dark, then you will be deceived by the false images or idols the culture presents. But if your soul is full of light, then you will see the light–the truth; that is, we are not perfect beings. No matter how well we may look on the outside, we are imperfect beings on the inside. And it is Grace–God’s love that makes us shine brilliantly in a dark world.

Grace reminds me of a ballerina. It creates those beautiful movements in life for us where we notice that there is a new sunrise or a new sunset every day. No design is the same. The colors of the sun setting is a different hue every day, or the color of the ocean which changes every second. There is a dance of life, and it can be as graceful as Misty Copeland on stage, long elegant muscles that seem to go on forever.

Even us bodybuilders performing our “routine” on stage aim to move like a ballerina. I remember watching Pumping Iron and how Arnold Schwarzenegger had to  learn to move his muscles gracefully on stage. Life is very much the same. We have to learn how to move through it gracefully. And the only way to do that is to move in God’s love. Never forget his love. Just as he has accepted you wholly, you must also accept yourself and others too.

You are created for a higher purpose than yourselves. You are his light, created beautifully in his image. Those who are caught up in color or race can only see what is in front of them. They operate even lower than the animals, for even our household animals see beyond, showing more kindness, forgiveness, and unconditional love. So I leave you these lines, dear nieces: Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

  • With Love,
  • Auntie Etta