Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear Body

Dear Body,

The years have not treated you kindly.

Over these two decades, gravity has begun to pull at you. Through womanhood you have gone all curvy and lose on me. You don't fit into that one pair of jeans that I used to love or that little black dress, you know the one that used to make beauty on the outside come to life. Some days, not even my {most stubborn} will could will you to pick up and run another mile—you just have zero to give. Forget the Olympics, just give me another half marathon. Something I can do. Anything.

Your sausage thighs and feeble knees have hindered my game. Your soft belly never tucks in quite right to my clothes. Your large chest hinders my style and jostles too much during my workouts. Your arms jiggle when they should be still. Your face grows hair in the wrong places too often and never spares me of blemish. Your hair doesn't even keep it's brilliant blonde on its own anymore. Oh body, how do I love you?

Most days, I don't feel like I can be who He created me to be—and most days I blame you. I blame your saggy arms, your feeble knees, your curves that continue to curve in all the wrong places. I blame your cleavage that seems to be subdued by nothing short of a little of this southern grease tucked into many layers. I blame the girl in line in front of me all tanned and perky and perfect—why won't you just look like that?

I blame my twelve year old will that eventually crumbled under the pressure of starvation. The day the curves began pop out and latch on, when my jeans started to fit different, I got so mad at you. I starved you until you hungered so loud. So I fed you. I guess we ran and weighed and starved our way right through teenagerdom. Until the day I taught you to purge yourself of the curve-inducing, tastes like love calories I hoarded for you—a new era began for you I suppose—for us both. You were my best friend and greatest enemy.

Some days you got tired and you didn't perform well enough—so I had to punish you, body. How could you have forsaken me this way, I would wonder aloud? Why did you have to have so much fat on your thighs and such big bones beneath it all? Why did you have to look like that today? Why couldn't I just be petitie. Even the word sounds sweet—and innocent. I am sorry for hurting you, for the scars you continue to bear up beneath. I'm sorry that your innocence was lost so early a time.

Two decades later, we don't often agree on much, me and you. And yet in some summersault of extrordinary grace, we are still one, still putting feet to the carpet morning by morning, new mercies and all. As my understanding fails, the truth prevails so I begin to trust in something more. Created to move and serve and laugh and love—created for more.

And I begin to realize you are more—we are more? You have to be. Perhaps there is a purpose, a reason which far extends my youthful comprehension and yearnings—for why we continue to be granted breath. What a mess we are!

They tell me you are a temple, a holy dwelling made new. To me you are still who you have always been, like a bag of ugly rocks weighing me down. I have never quite figured how to get comfortable in you.

Oh body, is there anything about you worth loving? Perhaps a fingernail all clean and cut or that freckle on my toe.

Some days I want to crawl out of you because you hurt me so bad. I can't open my eyes before the mirror because it reveals your imperfections, your flaws which are plenty and overwhelming. And it is too much. Too messy. Too ugly.

Oh dear body, will these eyes of yours ever learn to see with grace?

Eyes of grace hear the word triplets (growing in your best friend's tummy!) and remember that someday, you are going to defy everything that makes sense and breathe to life a whole human inside. Eyes of grace see the little beans inside and weep, the yearning to hold life within so much greater then the desire to destroy it. Eyes of grace dream of that little life forming beneath this soft belly that jiggles a too much, until the jiggling just doesn't seem like such a devastation.

Eyes of grace look at your short, chubby legs and remember the moment those legs carried you through a 13.1 mile run, the victory moment and the process. They remember the moment those legs stepped out of the car and touched the red dirt of India for the first time. They remember these are the legs that will carry you down the winding aisle into the arms of the one chosen for you someday. The chub you see seems purposeful, natural even, in the eyes of grace.

Eyes of grace look down into the intricate details of this little one, they remember the strength needed to sustain him. Eyes of grace give thanks for these hips that jut out so right and perfect and wide, like they were created for this or something. They hope in the future that is full of babies resting so close. They tell me, the wider the better, stop living a slave to a number and embrace what this body was created to do!!

Eyes of grace remind me of the nourishment this bosom will provide for the generation to come. They remind me of the bonding, of the moments that are created to be mine alone. They teach me to hope in the future rather then pay for the past. Eyes of grace see through the sagging and layers—they see the needs being met, the purpose.

Eyes of grace look into the mirror and see the temple and the reflection of the Maker. They see the fearfully made through the stitches knitting it all together. They see every little hair and count it. Not because it is ugly—because they love me so good.

Eyes of grace see only a glimpse of this earthly body, imperfections and all. Eyes of grace tell me there is more, so hold fast. Eyes of grace whisper the glimpse could not compare to the coming of eternal life. Eyes of grace rely on the blood already shed—they trust in it, right here in this fallen world. They see the scars and give thanks. They need not make more, need not pay the price already paid.

Oh Jesus, give me eyes of grace. Teach me to hope here, here in the unfamiliar, in the unnatural. For I am not created for the familiar and natural. Not created for this world.
Eyes of grace, teach me to look for the stitches knitting it all together, the ones that bind up the wounds. 

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