Transcript: Thanks Allan, this is David Brower. This is part two of the Positive Forward Motion Podcast, as my friend Denise Scattergood interviews the 88-year-old Iron Nun, the oldest person to ever finish an Iron Man triathlon, Sister Madonna Buder.
SISTER MADONNA: If you sideswipe, you’re in danger, just go head on. All right, and was I was going head on, came the second one, drop your head. Yeah, I want to protect my face for this head on. So next thing … spread eagle on my back, and hearing the moaning on my left side from the other detached cyclist, and I thought, “Oh, he’s probably really hurt.” And, I don’t know about myself, but you know, when you have a sudden fall like that, it’s a shock, it puts you in shock and you need a little time to gather your wits about you. In the meantime, two other figures gathered at the site, and one guy said, “Oh, we better call 911.”, I said “No, no, please wait.” The other one on the other said, “Oh, I think we better call the police.” I said, “No, will just please wait, I’m not ready yet.” And he said, “Well, you’ve been down three minutes.” And I’m saying to myself, “So what, my body knows when it’s ready to try to get up.” And then, comes a woman with her husband, and they are living in the neighborhood. She stands straight in front of me, says, “You need some water and I have some water.” “Oh”, I said, “You know, I have water too, but it’s by my bike.”
SISTER MADONNA: And then I thought about my bike. And then she was the opportunity. So without a word, I reach out both hands to her, she doesn’t say a word, she reaches her two hands out and gently, gently raises me up. So I’m standing, and you could hear the sighs of relief. And he came over to me, he said, “Well, I got a bloody nose out it.” And then we look at our bikes and they were intact. Now if that isn’t a mini miracle I don’t know what is.
DENISE S: Absolutely.
SISTER MADONNA: But it’s those little instinctive feelings that, if you get so caught up in your gadgets, you [inaudible 00:02:57] them if you even get them. And [crosstalk 00:03:00]-
DENISE S: Because you’re not paying attention [crosstalk 00:03:02]-
SISTER MADONNA: What I call God whispers. Those little thoughts are God whispers. And the Holy Spirit speaking through us. Are we going to be able to listen? Or are we dependent on our handmade manmade gadgets instead? So that’s my concern.
DENISE S: [crosstalk 00:03:22] So it’s outside to … yes and getting outside helps us to get inside when you’re outside and you’re wrapped in nature and you’re running and you’re biking, and you’re swimming, and It clears your mind and your thoughts. And you get to pick up on those intuitions and those things that are very important. You mentioned something to me yesterday, you said, “You know, there is a real benefit of aging.” Could you elaborate on that a little bit? Because you had some great things to share about the benefits of aging.
SISTER MADONNA: Well it’s funny, because I had a conference with the Bishop maybe a month or so ago, and the last thing he asked me was, “How does it feel to get old?” And that came out of nowhere. But I am, and he realizes that, 30 years is senior. So in 2020, I’ll be 90 and he’ll be 60, and maybe the thought spooked him. But I didn’t have time to answer, because it was the end of our conference, so I just, I don’t even know what I responded. But I’ve been contemplating it ever since. And what I realized in myself is that I am much less concerned about the external, which makes me more centered on the internal, which is focused to the eternal.
DENISE S: Could you say that again I love that.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, as I have advanced in years, I’ve become much less attached to the external and much more aware of what’s going on with the internal, helping me focus to the eternal. So nothing else bothers you as much.
DENISE S: And that’s such a great message for those folks that are concerned or worried about their age, but also, we’re in an age right now, and I just across an article the other day, where they did a study. A bunch of young girls, and they gave them an app, you know, a little computer app and said, “You can take a picture of yourself, then you can modify it with all these filters, and modify it to the point that you would want to place it out there in social media for the world to see.”
DENISE S: And the studies and the research that was done were shocking, because most of the girls, the final picture that they created of themselves, they almost looked more like an avatar than they did as their real selves. So this is such a great message that you’re sharing, because it’s not just an aging problem anymore, as people get older and they’re worried about some wrinkles or not being perfect, it’s such a topic for young girls that are just reaching for perfection, perfection, that there’s no such thing that as that. We’re perfectly imperfect, we’re great just how we are. To bring light to that, whether you’re 14 or 90, and between is extremely important.
SISTER MADONNA: I really get mystified, why people think they can do a one-upmanship on God’s creation, by recreating their own image to their image and likeness, instead of God’s image. God told us he was making us to his image and likeness. Oh no, I’m not satisfied, I want my hair to be … oh, this is really funny. This was then dying hair was the rage. And this was a black woman, and their hair is normally black or dark. Well obviously she had used peroxide. So what happens is she has now [inaudible 00:08:08] hair to go with her dark skin. If she didn’t look like Halloween all over, I don’t know. But it just doesn’t make sense to try to do better than what God gave you in the first place.
SISTER MADONNA: He gave us the color hair to go with our complexion. Why do you want to change it? And normally when a woman gets to my age, they have either gray hair or white hair, and if they try to make it go black you can tell, you can tell it’s dyed from the get-go. So what are you trying to say? I don’t like getting old. Why not? It’s a privilege. You’ve spent all these years on earth, you might as well appreciate that.
DENISE S: You might as well, so what you’re sharing is that message, rather than to hide the fact of how many years we’ve had the honor to be on this earth, to shine those years and say, “Yes, I’ve spent all of these years, this is what I have done.”
SISTER MADONNA: Yeah.
DENISE S: And in conversation, it can be so much easier said than done, of course as we know, because there’s so many different pressures. Whether it’s business pressures, or someone just feeling insecure or moving forward. So, what would you say maybe to a young girl that is feeling the pressures, just wanting to be perfect? You have the wisdom and some wise words to, “Just think of this.”, you know … go ahead.
SISTER MADONNA: All right. A visit to jail. Sometimes I’ve asked them, “Do you love yourself?” Well, a few of them actually say yes. But it stops them short, it stops them short. If you can’t love yourself as a creature, a child of God, how can you expect to love anyone else? God doesn’t make junk, and you’re a child of God. Well, that rings a bell that hadn’t heard for a while. And then I say, “Furthermore, you’re not only a child of God, but you are a masterpiece of his creation. There will never be another you that can think, say, act, do just as you do. So, act as if you’re a masterpiece of God’s creation, because in fact you are. And God doesn’t make junk.” You can make it out of yourself if you want, because you have that free will, and God’s not gonna rob you of what he gave you, it’s up to you.
DENISE S: That’s wonderful. And that is such a good reminder for all of us, to stop especially again, as we were talking with younger folks, boys and girls actually, with the pressures that are out there, and the pressure for perfect is to not look at someone else or toward someone or something else to make us feel filled and happy, is the first stop, and find love with ourself. And one of my favorite quotes that I mentioned, actually on one of my other podcast interviews, because I keep this little note tidy in a little wallet that I found years ago on a calendar, and it said, “If you don’t believe in love and accept yourself, you’re going to try to find somebody else or something to do it for you.”
SISTER MADONNA: [crosstalk 00:12:15] And they’ll never satisfy you.
DENISE S: Right. And then it’s a slippery slope of not being satisfied.
DENISE S: So I’m sure the listeners are very curious to know, I’m very fortunate, my grandfather lived to 99. He was so healthy and strong all the way through his life. Just healthy. And people would always ask him, “Well, what do you do? What do you eat? How do you exercise? What types of things.” So as we’re talking about the benefits of aging and getting older, I’m sure there’s folks out there that think, “Well gosh, I want what Sister’s taking, or what she’s doing.” So, share a little bit about maybe a day in the life of Sister Madonna.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, when I travel, I’m very often asked do I have any specialties in regards to food, I don’t. I just take what’s served. I don’t have any allergies that I know of, except I’m allergic to the planet earth, I do know that. Especially when it’s become … it isn’t the same place I was born on. Anyway, we have insecticides and all these things that contaminate our natural food. So nobody’s gonna get any wisdom from me about what to eat. And everybody has different preferences and different likes anyhow.
SISTER MADONNA: But whatever you do, do in moderation. And what I have come across lately, which I think is quite beneficial, because garlic has a lot of assets to it, raw garlic. But how are you gonna prepare raw garlic? Well I found a way. And this I will share. I get the cloves, maybe one whole clove. Break it up, cut it up, get a spoonful of peanut butter. Put those little diced up parts on the peanut butter, and chew it and the sharpness blends with the blandness of the peanut butter and it tastes pretty darn good. And if it gets to a point where it may be a little intolerable, I also have a banana handy and I bit the banana and it adds the sweetness. So you’ve got the tartness, the blandness, and the sweetness all at once.
DENISE S: Well I do love garlic as well, but my raw garlic intake is gonna go up. Absolutely.
SISTER MADONNA: Good.
DENISE S: So I believe this morning you mentioned when you wake up in the morning, you head over to mass. Are you still running to mass?
SISTER MADONNA: Not in this kind of weather, uh-uh (negative).
DENISE S: But in the spring, you’ll be running again?
SISTER MADONNA: Yeah.
DENISE S: And how many miles is it to mass when you run?
SISTER MADONNA: It depends on what church I go to, but normally my own parish would be just a little over four miles round trip, which isn’t much, but it’s a starter for the day.
DENISE S: Okay, a starter for the day. Okay, so you ran to mass, you went to mass, you ran home, you put in your four miles. Then what’s next?
SISTER MADONNA: Well, sometimes I go to the Y. I try to get a swim in at least three times a week. Then it’s open time during the day, and it’s a nice day, I’ll jump on the bike. So I don’t need to enter competition to do a triathlon, I can do it myself.
DENISE S: I love that, I love that. And then, on the days, we all have our days, we just don’t feel like it, we just you know, for the listeners, what do you tap into on those days where, I just don’t know if I have this in me?
SISTER MADONNA: It is again the draw to the great outdoors of mother nature.
DAVID BROWER: You’ve been listening to part two of the Positive Forward Motion Podcast with Denise Scattergood, and the 88-year-old Iron Nun, Sister Madonna Buder. Listen to the Positive Forward Motion Podcast wherever podcasts can be found.
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