The following is from Jerry Stewart who hailed from a small town in southeastern Iowa. Weight had been a factor in his life since birth and as we'll hear from him, it's been the cause of some pretty harsh treatment over the years.
It was a day Jerry Stewart had looked forward to for a long, long time. He was finally headed down the highway in a north-westerly fashion leaving his hometown behind. "See ya later", he said out loud. As he took one final glance in the rear view mirror, he thought to himself, "there a better days ahead. Finally, after years of abuse.....being called "fat and obese".....and sometimes a slob, he was moving on". He was off to college and a chance for change in his life. Bullyville would be a thing of the past.
Stewart's drive to Minneapolis took a little over six hours. It was here where he would begin life anew at the University of Minnesota. It was summer and Jerry had taken the first opportunity to get out of town that he could. He didn't wait for the fall term to start. The sooner the better. As he trudged up the walk to his new home, Territorial Hall, he couldn't contain his glee. Finally, he thought. "My day is here".
Stewart checked into his room and placed his belongings in the closet as neatly he could. And he waited. And waited. And waited. For his roommate. But that never happened. He waited expecting that sometime, someone would walk into the room and announce themselves. Jerry had played it through in his mind for months. But those hopes were dashed. As Jerry would later find out, his roommate to be, got a look at his new bunking partner and asked for a move. The residential counselor never gave Stewart a reason why, but he had his suspicions. So, rather than having the opportunity to meet someone new and share some new experiences, Stewart could only muster ideas that were less than optimistic and most began with the word, "why".
"Why am I fat? Why do people treat me this way? Why can't I get a break" and Why God, do I have to go through this?" All questions that had real legitimacy. At least in Jerry's mind.
"That was a tough summer for me. First off, I was away from home and didn't know anyone, didn't know where anything was and I had feelings of inferiority written all over me", Stewart would explain. "I spent many nights in my room thinking, ...wondering if this was going to be worth it. Most of the time, I felt like it was a losing situation. On the other hand, not many people knew me by name, so I tried to keep to myself. That way I felt invisible", he added.
Year one went by....then two....then three. And then it was onto Stewart's senior year at the U. As he would recall, much of his college life was inconsequential to him. He learned alot, probably because he spent alot of time in his room studying....and being alone. He had maneuvered his way through his first three years fairly easy. Oh, he had the occasional looks thrown his way. But he tried to push them aside as soon as he could. "Frankly, there were so many diverse people at college, that I didn't feel singled out as much as high school", Jerry noted. "I'd come from a little town in southeastern Iowa and it wasn't like we saw anything to different other than the height and weight of an individual and their hair color and style. College was different. And that was good......and bad".
Stewart spent much of his senior year readying himself for the work force. He tidied up his resume, got his grades in the best shape he could and bought a new suit. A big new suit. "I probably gained another 75 pounds at college", Jerry added. "When I went to buy my suit for interviews, I realized how much weight I'd had put on in four years. The scale now read 375 pounds".
"The first interview I had was with a marketing firm in Iowa. It went pretty well, or at least I thought it did", Stewart said. "At the very end, the interviewer asked me if I had ever considered a workout regime to lose weight, because their company liked to think of themselves as a "healthy and fit" organization". "You need to lose weight Mr. Stewart. Unless you do that we can't consider you for employment", she said.
"I was crushed", Jerry said. "I'd gone through crap like this in high school.....had it go away somewhat in college and here was some skinny little female telling me in so many terms, "you need to lose weight".
"Every possible negative emotion came over me.....hate, anger, disgust. You name it, and I felt it. I left the interview office as quickly as I could. Headed for home. A place where I could feel somewhat safe......and invisible, again.".
"I looked into the freezer and spotted the gallon of pecan sundae ice cream. That's all I remember about the rest of that day", Jerry said. "With one exception. The Bully that had controlled much of my life had reared its ugly head again".
UP NEXT: A JOB OFFER AND ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:1-2