Lent 35


In researching articles as preparation for this week’s articles, I found an interesting SEO result.  I typed in discipline and one of the responses I received had to do with lactic acid fermentation.  Now you are probably much smarter than I am but just in case the definition of lactic acid fermentation is not on the tip of your tongue, let me refresh your memory.  It is, quite simply, a biological process by which glucose and other six-carbon sugars (also, disaccharides of six-carbon sugars, e.g. sucrose or lactose) are converted into cellular energy and the metabolite lactate.  You knew that, right?


You might not have instantly remembered what lactic acid fermentation was but you have experienced it or rather, its consequences.  We all have cells in our bodies, cells that work to our benefit.  Generally speaking, these cells utilize aerobic respiration to generate something called ATP or adenosine triphosphate.  ATP is important because it provides the energy or fuel for many cellular activities within our bodies.   When oxygen levels are not enough for such aerobic respiration, some cells use lactic acid fermentation to generate the ATP.  This is a highly inefficient process but it does work.


Discipline or the lack thereof is a very similar thing in regards to our own personal living.  The person who is undisciplined about proper eating habits will still get some benefit from the junk food they eat.  Their bodies, however, will not work efficiently and often fail to produce necessary elements or engage in the cellular activities needed for good health.


Aerobic respiration produces thirty-six molecules of ATP compared to the two molecules produced by lactic acid fermentation.  Lactic acid is a by-product which our bodies must either use, as in the case of converting it to ATP, or eliminate it.  Whenever you exercise, that soreness you feel in your muscles is caused by the production of lactic acid.  So while you might feel sore, your body is using that cause of your soreness.  In other words, you might not be very disciplined, hence the soreness of forgotten muscles, but your body is being disciplined in its use of the lactic acid.


One more thing about lactic acid fermentation…You have most likely eaten it or had some to drink.  This is the process by which yogurt is made as well as some very popular beers and ales.  Of course, when eating or drinking, the key is self-discipline, especially when drinking anything alcoholic.


Self-discipline is the ability to control your life instead of letting life control you.  It is the ability to make sensible and well-thought-out decisions, to speak without needing to insult others, to calmly state your opinions, and to take responsibility for your actions.


Tomorrow we will discuss steps to achieving self-discipline but most of us have already heard them and/or been taught them as small children.  There are no magic doors to open to achieve success.  The only key one really needs is self-discipline.


Believe me when I say I need this as much as anyone reading this.  It is an on-going exercise, much like the way our bodies convert the lactic acid fermentation into ATP.  Life can be difficult, confusing, tumultuous, and well, things can go sour.  In other words, sometimes our life ferments.  Self-discipline and the accompanying self-control that it creates allows us to take those moments of fermentation and convert them into lessons and opportunities for success.


The resulting product of self-discipline is the opportunity to be ourselves.  It takes time but when our exercises in self-discipline become habits, then we reap great rewards.  Every garden needs weeding and this exercise of growing a better self will need the weeding of bad habits.  Replacing bad habits with productive ones becomes the cornerstone of self-discipline.  It is the way for us all to blossom.  Then, instead of agitation and fermentation, we will experience effcient order and calm.


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